Meadville Tribune

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January 24, 2013

Service learning at Wesbury: Connecting, caring, sharing

MEADVILLE — Mary Reid was born on Nov. 15, 1937. She was adopted in 1937 by a couple whose three other children had passed away before the adoption. Her father worked for a CPA firm, and her mother was a stay-at-home artist.

She recalls walking to school each day. Her eighth-grade teacher, Mr. Mapel, influenced her the most and prepared her for high school. Although he taught a class of 20 to 30 students, he still managed to challenge each and every one of them academically.

After high school, she attended the University of Missouri, where she graduated with a major in journalism. She then received a master’s degree in journalism and the arts from Bradley University. She has good memories of those college days, both academically and socially, especially the time she spent as editor of the college newspaper.

Her first husband was Joe Doubet, who served in the Army. They were stationed in Japan during World War II.

Later, she married Jack Reid. They had three daughters, Nancy, Kaye and Tracy. All three of her daughters have unfortunately passed away. Kaye died of a brain aneurysm. Mary came back to Meadville because her three daughters gave her beautiful grandchildren, who take good care of her. Amanda Smith is a nurse in Saegertown and Jennifer Maloney and Ryan DeBaise live in Meadville.

Jack worked for Caterpillar in Hong Kong for nine years. The weather was beautiful and they did a lot of swimming and boating. Caterpillar brought them back to Pittsburgh in 1950, just about the time the children were ready for high school. They lived in Pittsburgh until 1976.

While living in Hong Kong, Mary taught a Red Cross water safety class in a school that had been started through the Lutheran Church. She had always loved swimming. She spent a lot of time in the swimming pool in her backyard while she was growing up and felt like she learned to swim before she learned to walk.

Hong Kong did not require a certificate to teach, so Mary was able to teach swimming to mostly English-speaking students. Over the years, she had picked up a few words in the native language, but since English was commonly spoken in Hong Kong, communicating with the people there was not a problem for her.

As she looks back over the years, her favorite memories include traveling and spending time in all the places where her family lived (Illinois, Hawaii, Hong King, Singapore); meeting and working with interesting and talented people along the way (fellow travelers, professors, students and others); reading (her favorite author is still F. Scott Fitzgerald); and singing in the choir at the Presbyterian Church. She has always been passionate about art: painting, especially in oil caisson; visiting art museums; and collecting special art pieces that would capture her imagination. She continues to enjoy this outlet for creative expression.

Ms. Reid’s advice to young people is, “Go for it! If you get a chance, go right ahead! Don’t miss anything! Where you are makes a difference in whatever you do.”

Littlefield is a Meadville student; Scandinaro was his Allegheny College student mentor for the intergenerational project.

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