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Morningside-Skyline column for Sept. 12

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Mary McHale

Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Popular eatery shuts down, former manager talks about its heyday

The Ranch House on Oxon Hill Road shut its doors without warning late one Saturday night a few weeks ago. The staff didn’t know and the customers didn’t either. There was an “Out of Business” sign on the door. The owner “didn’t renew the lease.”

I wanted someone to tell me about the Ranch House, so I was steered to Bobby Vernon, who had worked there since he was a busboy back in 1971, the year it opened. Bobby went on to be cook, manager and just about everything in between. He told me he never missed a day unless he was sick. And he was never late.

He told me about some of the famous folks he had met at the Ranch House, like Purvis Ellison of the Bullets and Mark Moseley of the Redskins, G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate fame, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, Demond Wilson of “Sanford and Son,” singer Maria Maltaur (“Midnight at the Oasis”) and Floyd Haywood (“Down Home Blues”). Some of them were regulars.

He described the food as “home-cooked with nice-size portions and friendly service.” And he recalled the times when there would be “standing room only.” The omelets were popular. He said they started out offering four different omelets and went on to have 25. Customers liked the steaks and seafood, “always made to order.” Oscar, the baker, used to make 500 to 600 pies — key lime was the favorite.

Bobby called the Labor Board when the place closed. I don’t know if he has had any satisfaction. He described the whole thing as “underhanded.” He is looking for a new job, but there aren’t many places like the Ranch House. For its time, it was special.


When I bemoaned in my column the loss of the Ranch House’s liver & onions, I received two emails: Ange Meoli recommended Mimi’s Café in Waldorf and “Pearl” suggested Clyde’s in Alexandria. Now, I’m hungry!

Ryan Butler, great-grandson of John Butler of Morningside, graduated from the University of Pittsburg with a degree in civil engineering and will be attending the University of Maryland for his master’s degree.

Sarah Ross, who used to live on Pine Lane in Skyline, is now Sister Cecilia of the Order of St. Joseph the Worker in Walton, Ky. She is the granddaughter of the late Dante and Pauline Ross and the daughter of their son Dante.

My son John and Michelle McHale, of Columbia, have a new exchange student, Sarah, from Germany. She will be living with them for her freshman school year and is already playing soccer and taking dance lessons. She is called “Sarah G.” because the McHales already have a Sarah.

Fr. Jeffrey Samaha celebrates Mass at 6 p.m. Sundays at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital. All are welcome. And by the way, Father Samaha was honored June 20 when the hospital recognized volunteers for their service. He was presented with a pin for 40,000 hours of cumulative volunteer service as chaplain.

Morningsiders, remember your Town Meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Hall.

The Skyline Citizens Association meets at Skyline School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. I’ll be there.

Changing landscape

The Columbia Bank has opened at 7600 Old Branch Avenue in Clinton, in the building that once housed Bank of America. For information, call 301-868-1215.

As of Sept. 3, the Family Health and Pediatric Clinics at Andrews moved to the Temporary Medical Buildings on the south end of the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinic.

May they rest in peace

Wilfredo R. Feliciano, Sr., 66, a postal worker and longtime resident of Pickett Court in Morningside, died Aug. 31. He was a native of the Philippines. He was the husband of Maricar Feliciano and the late Patria D. Feliciano, father of Wilfredo Jr., Patricia and Winifredo Feliciano, brother of Rudolfo and Rolando Feliciano and Evelyn Gamboa. Mass of Christian Burial was at St. Columba Church with burial at Resurrection Cemetery.

Gabriel S. Fleri, 71, barber and member of Moose Lodge 1856, Upper Marlboro, died Aug. 3. A Washington, D.C., native, he graduated from Anacostia High School and Chamberlain Vocational School where he learned to be a barber. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Luckie, and his sister Nancy Fleri.

Condolences to Hope Tickell, formerly of Allies Road in Morningside, on the death of her daughter A. C. (Ann Carol) Crispin, 1968 graduate of Gwynn Park High School and a best-selling science fiction and fantasy author who wrote tie-in novels for the Star Wars franchise.


Happy birthday to Patricia Epperly, Sept. 13; Kenny Clark, Sept. 14; Elnora McCall, Sept. 15; Dolores McDonald, Steven Warren and Yolanda Dooley, Sept. 16; Agnes Barber, Kimberly Brewer, Everett Mason, Jr. and Joan Stakem, Sept. 17.

Happy anniversary to Les and Kathy Hedrick on their 44th anniversary Sept. 13, and to Sal and Kathy (Blankenship) Biberaj, their 10th on Sept. 14.

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