Reflections: ‘Mary Mac’ is number 1


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

I like to divert from past history occasionally and focus on an individual who has contributed to our society in an extraordinary way. This week I am saluting Mary Zwarner McAlister, or as she is fondly called, “Mary Mac.”

The Columbus native arrived in Cardington in 1941 with a diploma from Capital University and two years teaching experience at Fairview Elementary in Columbus. She taught first grade at Cardington and on the staff was Wilbur McAlister. The two married in 1942.

When “Mac” was drafted into service during WW II, Mary moved back to Columbus with her parents before volunteering with the USO in Tampa Florida for the duration of her husband’s service. Following his discharge the couple came back to Cardington where she taught and he became the high school principal.

Mary Mac’s career spanned 32 years as a first grade teacher in Cardington, Edison, Mount Gilead and Columbus.

Although teaching was her career, volunteering was from her heart as a helping hand. She was a charter member of Hope Line Crisis Agency and in the first class of trained counselors and was named Volunteer of the Year in 1985. She was a past president of the Friends of Hope Line, and served as a model in the Friends Fashion show for 12 years.

That same year she was president of the Buckeye Twig Hospital Auxiliary, volunteering 25-30 hours a month in the gift shop, pharmacy and outpatient areas. She held membership in the Morrow County Fine Hearts Guild and the Cardington Garden Club.

She was the first female on the Morrow County Board of Education where she filled the vacancy created by her husband’s death in 1988. She was president of the Cardington Seniors, membership chairman of the Retired Teachers Association and a member of the former Reveille Club and the American Association of University Women.

Mary Mac was not just a card carrying member of these groups, she was active and usually held an office. She was a volunteer with the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 97 and a storybook lady once a week at the Cardington Public Library. As a member of the First United Methodist Church, she sang in the choir and

chaired the Administrative Council. In 1993 Mary Mac was named the Morrow County Outstanding Senior Citizen by the Ohio District Five on Aging.

The travel bug bit her when she made a trip overseas with her college faculty members and after that she traveled to China, the British Isles, Egypt, Alaska, Israel, , Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

When she moved to Florida to a retirement center, Mary continued to be active by writing a column for the center’s newsletter, conducting weekly individual interviews of residents, was emcee for the story tellers group and served as principal and treasurer of the resident’s association. Her age, which by this time was in the 90s, did not deter nor slow her.

Among her many admirers are her two daughters, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Mary turned 99 years old July 12 and has blazed a trail of volunteering and helping from the heart that we can only admire and try to emulate.

60 years ago July, 1959: Iris Beatty, a 1919 Cardington High School graduate, retired after teaching for 32 years in northern Ohio schools. She planned to travel and play her violin and piano at her West Main Street home in Cardington.

40 years ago, July, 1979: Jon Elliott of Cardington, entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Mosher, Inc became the new operator of the Morrow County Airport. Harvey Mosher of Cardington Township Rod 144 was the aircraft maintenance manager and Berneta Mosher of Westerville was Flight Operations Manager.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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