Mary R. McElhone: Building a Life in Rehoboth Beach
Mary grew up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and initially attended Montgomery County Community College. From there, she moved on to East Stroudsburg University. After teaching several years, she started working for Bell of PA in 1979. She had a successful career in sales, marketing, and product and process management for 27 years before retiring from Verizon in 2006.
In 1999, Mary began living in Rehoboth six months of the year. Soon after she met her future wife, Nancy Kaiser, through mutual friends, and, in the spring of 2000, they re-connected while working to raise money for the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. Nancy had lived in Rehoboth full-time since 1996 and Mary made that same move in 2006.
Today, Mary and Nancy work together owning and operating a local construction and renovation company, called At Your Service. The couple lives in Rehoboth along with their three Scottish Terriers, Duncan, William and Fiona. A member of the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus, Mary also serves as President of its Leadership Team.
When/why did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
I had always wanted to give back to the community and I couldn’t think of a better community to support. I got involved with CAMP Rehoboth in the spring of 2000 collecting donations at various events around town to raise money for the new idea of a Community Center.
What’s been your best memory volunteering here?
I especially enjoyed working with the CAMP Board and architect on the design and development of the Community Center plans, and to not only build a new facility but to integrate it into the vision of what is now the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.
What does CAMP Rehoboth mean to you?
It’s an organization focused on the health, dignity, and growth of civil rights for the LGBT community as a whole; as well as ensuring a “room for all” culture.
What events/activities have you been involved with at CAMP?
I was involved with running the Splash event for years which raised several thousand dollars for CAMP, as well as Safe Haven and the Wellness Center. I have spent many hours over the years working a number of events including Women’s FEST, Love, Sundance, and the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus.
“Wouldn’t you like to be a CAMPer too?” How would you encourage someone to get involved with us?
I currently am encouraging folks to join CAMP’s Chorus. It’s fun, social, and a great way to introduce people to the CAMP organization.
Tell us something that very few people know about you...
This is a really hard question for me but given the fact that Nancy and I each lost a parent this past fall, I’d have to say that. Plus, we also got married in Provincetown, Massachusetts last October, and we’re planning a celebration with our friends and family on our 12th anniversary in July.
First thought that comes to mind when you hear the word “Rehoboth.”
The smallest town I’ve ever lived in, but it’s home sweet home.
Other than CAMP Rehoboth, of course, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
We love traveling, visiting family and friends, working around the house, going to auctions, theatre, singing, and looking at outdoor artwork and sculptures.
As a full-time resident, what’s your favorite thing to do in the off season?
Taking advantage of the dinner specials at all the restaurants and going to the beach in September.
Where was your last vacation destination and what influenced you to go there?
Door County, Wisconsin. Our family all went to visit my cousins for 10 days of relaxing, eating, drinking, and art galleries.
Civil Unions became law and went into effect as of January 1 of this year. Do you see yourselves taking advantage of this right? If so, details please!
Absolutely, since we were married in Massachusetts, Delaware now recognizes our marriage with all the same benefits as Civil Unions.
Friends are coming over for dinner. What will you make?
Nancy’s our primary chef. I’m better at being the sous chef and baker. We’d most likely be grilling something like seared tuna, sesame seaweed salad, asparagus, and roasted sweet potatoes. For dessert, perhaps a peach kuchen (depending on what fruit is in season).
Who’s your favorite current musician or entertainer? Who’s your favorite of all-time?
I enjoy most genres of music with the exception of hard rock. But, aside from Glee CDs, I really like the close harmonies of The Manhattan Transfer.
What’s your favorite TV show currently? Of all-time?
Glee, Smash, and most of the CSI’s.
What is the last book you’ve read? Your all-time favorite?
I don’t have much time to read except on vacation. The last book was Out of Step by J. Lee Watton. I’ve enjoyed most of the Patricia Cornwell novels.
Would you rather go to the movies or watch one at home? Assuming you have, what was the last movie you watched?
Go to the movies, but I’m usually tired after work and taking care of the fur kids, so it’s easier to watch them at home. The last movie we watched was Temple Grandin, recommended by my niece Katie. Based on a true story, it’s about a woman with autism, a fabulous story. I highly recommend it.
Thank you, Mary, for your years of involvement with CAMP Rehoboth. We are a stronger organization because of the dedication of supporters like you and Nancy.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth volunteer spotlight? Email your suggestion.