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Morningside-Skyline column for Nov. 15

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Mary McHale

Published on: Wednesday, November 14, 2012

By Mary McHale

Walter Coley, who saved Suitland Bog, dies at 83

Walter L. Coley was the first to recognize the importance of the rare bog near the intersection of Suitland Road and Suitland Parkway. He became chairman of a committee dedicated to its protection. In 1975, 20 acres of woods, including the bog, were purchased by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which fenced the bog and installed a boardwalk to protect the carnivorous plants.

I’m sad to report that Walter died at the age of 83 on Oct. 22 in Sebring, Fla., where he and Anna moved in 1998 after living in Suitland for 30 years. He had served with the Army during the Korean War and was a firefighter in Washington for 17 years.

I last met up with him in December 2003 when the Suitland Community Center Gym was dedicated in honor of Walter and Anna Coley and they were called on to cut the ribbon. Above the gymnasium door today is a large montage featuring the many recreational activities of the Coleys.

Walter’s wife of 58 years, Anna, survives him, as well as his children, Pamela Coley, Sandra Keaton and Walter Coley  Jr., five siblings and three grandchildren. Services were Nov. 1 at Pope Funeral Home with Rev. George A. Fitzgerald officiating. He is buried at Washington National Cemetery in Suitland.


Thank you to the judges at Skyline School polling place on Election Day, including Demetrise Harmon and Mr. and Mrs. George Walker, all of Skyline. Some of the judges worked from 6 a.m. until midnight. I particularly enjoyed hearing the judges cheer when a first-time voter turned out. I believe there were more votes cast at Skyline than ever before. Despite the many who voted early, the line wound all around inside the school.

Sister Rezan, who heads the Catholic order of the Daughters of St. Anne in Camp Springs and Skyline, has returned from Kenya after three weeks of meetings with representatives of the order worldwide. She told me 40 from 20 different countries attended the meeting. The Motherhouse of the Daughters of St. Anne is in Rome and the meetings in Kenya were conducted in Italian.

Coming up

Come to the Gingerbread House Contest and Show, at Darnall’s Chance House in Upper Marlboro for a sweet treat. View an amazing display of edible gingerbread houses and vote for the best. Dates are: Nov. 23-25, Nov. 29-Dec. 2, Dec. 6-9, noon to 5 p.m. each day. Admission is $1. For information, call 301-952-8010.

Yvonne Garvin, of Skyline, is one of the performers in the Senior Performing Arts Troop, featuring dancers, mimes and chorus from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Camp Springs Senior Center, located at 6420 Allentown Road,.  

Morningside will hold its monthly Town Meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the Town Hall.

Changing landscape

After an absence of eight years, The National Children’s Museum at National Harbor is slated to re-open Dec. 17 in a new 18,000 square foot space. It was founded as Capital Children’s Museum in 1974, on H Street NE, which closed in 2004.

Value Place, a 121-room extended-stay mini-suite, will open in December next to the Dunkin’ Doughnuts at Branch and Allentown roads.

A site plan has been submitted for the first phase of the Westphalia Town Center, to be built along the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue at Melwood Road, ultimately to include offices, homes, townhouses, apartments and retail space.

A Dominican hair-care shop is hosting its grand opening in the Andrews Manor Shopping Center.

Morningside memories

Forty years ago in Oct. 1972, Richard McCormick died. He had been town treasurer for more than 20 years and was a charter member and former chief of the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department. He and his wife Blanche lived on Maple Road.

May he rest in peace

James E. Mills, Jr., graduate of Oxon Hill High School, died Nov. 4 in Dunkirk. He was the schoolmate and husband of the late Sue V. Henry, whom he married in 1954. Sue was active in Prince George’s politics and served three terms on the County Council. Jack and I often ran into Jim and Sue at Mama Stella’s Restaurant in Clinton.

Sue died in 2005. Jim was the father of Cynthia Sue Bulka and the late Stephen D. Mills; brother of Emma Ennis and Tom Mills; grandfather of Kimberly and great-grandfather of two. Services were at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, where his father-in-law had been the rector for many years. He is buried in the church cemetery.


Happy birthday to Kendra (MacLean) Pomilla and Katie Frostbutter, Nov. 18; Herbert Hanson and Andrew Boone, Nov. 20; Linda Cullinan and Brea Sandy-Hanson, Nov. 21; Dolores Steinhilber, Sharon McKlveen and Jill Flaherty Kimmel, Nov. 22.

Happy anniversary to Paul and Sharon Locke, Nov. 22.

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