Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Howard Menaker earned an undergraduate degree in English from Duke University, and then a law degree from the University of Denver. After practicing law in Kansas for three years, Howard moved to Washington, DC in January, 1979, and met his future husband, Patrick Gossett, just six months later on June 29.
Future is a bit of an understatement, as Howard and Patrick, a current Rehoboth Beach City Commissioner, waited 31 years until they were able to marry. They did so in 2010, in a small ceremony with friends and family at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.
In the summer of 1993, Howard and Patrick first rented in Rehoboth with a group of friends from the DC area. They quickly fell in love with this wonderful town and purchased their home here on Dover Street in 1996. Howard has been a member of the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Director’s since 2003. He currently chairs the Personnel Committee and also sits on the Communications and Succession Planning Committees.
When/why did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
I’ve been volunteering for CAMP as long as I can remember. I probably began as a donor and occasional volunteer in 1993, when I first rented a house with a bunch of guys for the summer. We’d attend events, and it just became the natural thing to do as a part of our community.
What’s been your best memory volunteering here?
My best memory of volunteering for CAMP has to be the annual Board retreat, when we spend one entire day together planning and discussing the direction of CAMP. It allows us to step back and look at the big picture, instead of the details that usually consume us. It’s also a chance to really get to know each other better, even if we’ve served on the Board together a long time. I always come out of it more committed to our community, and feeling closer than ever to the other board members.
What does CAMP Rehoboth mean to you?
To me, CAMP Rehoboth defines community, family, service, friendship and fun all in one.
What events/activities have you been involved with at CAMP?
I began volunteering for events like Love and Sundance. That then led to Steve and Murray asking me to come onto the Board of Directors, and from then I’ve done a little bit of everything— staffing the membership table, helping to build the Founders’ Circle, chairing committees, being on the Sundance auction team, volunteering for the Sundance 5K, and much more.
If you could spend a full day with one person, who would it be? Why?
This is the easy question. If I could spend a full day with anyone, it would be with my husband, Patrick Gossett. Because we’re both retired from 9 to 5 employment, we get to do that many days. He makes me happy, he inspires me, he understands me, and he loves me. How could I ask for anything more?
“Wouldn’t you like to be a CAMPer too?” How would you encourage someone to get involved with us?
I’m so inspired every time I attend a Volunteer Orientation, because I get to meet the people who just jump in and do it. That’s the key—find one thing you like to do, or one person you would like to work with, and just do it. You’ll love it more than you ever thought you would, and soon you’ll be doing more at CAMP than you ever expected.
Tell us something that very few people know about you...
In my childhood, I once played “Bashful” in a summer camp production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Talk about miscasting!
First thought that comes to mind when you hear the word “Rehoboth.”
Home. Patrick and I have owned our home since 1996, and even though we still have an apartment in Washington, DC, this feels like home.
Other than CAMP Rehoboth, of course, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
I can never get enough theater—in Washington, in New York, or anywhere else. Live theater is my passion. As someone once said, “There is nothing like a velvet seat, a dark theater, and an overture” to make me happy. And my idea of a great evening is dinner around our table with great friends lasting many hours, with lots of conversation, and lots of laughs.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the off season?
We’re in Rehoboth all year round, and love having the time to get together with friends who are too busy to see each other during the season. Patrick and I also volunteer for the Rehoboth Independent Film Festival and love it.
Friends are coming over for dinner. What will you make?
It could be anything at all, but always involves something Patrick and I can cook together. Often we try some new recipe we’ve never tried before.
What is the last book you’ve read? Your all-time favorite?
The most recent book is The Swerve, about the Renaissance. Perhaps my all-time favorite is Andrew Holleran’s Dancer From the Dance. It so captured the excitement of our lives in the late ‘70s.
People often ask me, “What’s it like living in Rehoboth year round?” I love that question. How would you respond?
Being in Rehoboth year round is the best! You can enjoy the frantic Summer, the warm and less crowded Fall, the cold and quiet Winter, and the Spring when everything, including the city, comes back to life.
What was your last text, post or tweet? And to whom, if applicable.
My latest Facebook posts were photos of the Rehoboth fireworks, and a photo of Patrick’s campaign kickoff.
Among many factors, CAMP Rehoboth is a better place because of the dedication, support and volunteer efforts put forth by yourself and the other Board members. Your contributions here have been far reaching for years and, on a personal note, I’m proud to serve with you and especially grateful for the friendship we’ve formed. Thank you, Howard.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Spotlight? Email your suggestion.