2001-04-21 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey Congratulations To A Dedicated Professional: Mary Dever

Chatting With Chapey
Congratulations To A Dedicated Professional: Mary Dever

Left to right: Sr. Peggy Tully, Fr. James Dunne, Mary Dever, James Kelly, Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader, Michael Dever and Eugene Pasternak.

Last week it was my pleasure to host a retirement party for a good friend, Mary Dever.  Mary has recently retired from her position as a reading specialist in JHS 198. Mary is a dedicated and indefatigable professional who has devoted her life to helping the children of our district reach greater academic heights.

Knowing Mary's energy, enthusiasm and capabilities, it is easy to
understand that she is not actually retiring in the traditional sense. Mary is now embarking on the next phase of her life.  She is training to become a lay ecclesial minister for the Catholic Church.  Mary has always been a very active parishioner. She will continue to serve as a Eucharistic Minister for patients in the nursing home and those who are infirmed at home.  Mary will also continue her volunteer work at the Tabor Retreat Center.

Fr. James Dunne, the outstanding Pastor of St. Camillus, joined the
celebration for Mary Dever.  He congratulated Mary for all her worthwhile activities and is looking forward to working with her in her new capacity as a lay minister.

 The Irish tradition is strongly rooted in education.  I applaud Mary for
her outstanding academic background.  Mary earned a Master of Science degree at Brooklyn College. She completed professional training at the Columbia University Institute in the teaching of reading and writing.  She holds an advanced certificate in School Administration and Supervision; a public speaking certificate from the Dale Carnegie Institute; a concentration in psychology from Manhattanville College MAT; a Montessori Primary Diploma from
Fairleigh Dickenson University; an Early Childhood Certificate from Bank Street College and a BS in Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Mary's volunteer activities on behalf of our children and our community
are numerous.  Some highlights include serving as: education chairperson of the Belle Harbor Property Owners; public relations person for PS 197 and JHS 198 to showcase school and community events in the Wave; education chairperson of the Rockaway Action Committee; advisory member of the Claddagh
Inn working with public and parochial schools to obtain food donations for the soup kitchen.

Mary's dedicated interest in serving the community began when she was a youngster.  Her parents Mary and Michael Tully were strong activists in their church, in their community and in the Powhattan Democratic Club in Astoria. They were close friends of Congressman Dulaney.  Her parents came from Ireland and were very proud to be Americans.  They valued the privilege of living in a democracy and never missed an opportunity to vote.  One example of her parents’ civic commitment occurred when Fr. Bill Sweeney's uncle came
from Ireland to raise money to build a facility for the disabled.  Mary and
Michael Tully immediately organized a fundraiser.  They were always willing to support a worthy cause.
Mary was joined in her commitment to serve the community by her late
husband Gerald Dever. Gerald Dever was an outstanding guidance counselor at JHS 180.  As I go around the community I hear many individuals state that Gerald Dever made a difference in their life.  Mary and her husband organized clean-ups along the Rockaway Freeway, on Beach 116 Street and on the beaches.
At the suggestion of Angel Colon, one of Mary's students, the Devers
organized people from all over the peninsula to clean up behind the Edgemere Houses.  These are a few examples of their willingness to commit themselves to helping their neighbors.
Mary and Gerald Dever’s strong commitment was passed on to their son, Michael Dever.  Michael is currently involved in trying to raise $5,000 for Cystic Fibrosis.  He will be participating on May 19, 2001 in the "Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk" to raise money for a cure.  He would be honored if you would sponsor him by donating $5 or $10.  Make checks out to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and mail it to Michael Dever, 103-00 Shore Front Parkway, Apt. 6A, Rockaway Beach, N.Y. 11694.  His phone number is 474-6418.  Michael is a graduate of our local public schools - PS 114 and JHS 180.  He then went to Molly High School and graduated cum laude from Providence College with a double major in Spanish and Political Science.  While in college, Michael served as a Page in the United States House of Representatives.  He is currently an
investigator in the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. Michael shares his parent's enthusiasm for people and for life.  
Sr. Peggy Tully, Mary's identical twin, also joined the celebration.  I
asked Peggy and Mary what it is like to grow up with an identical twin.  
Peggy told me that they had gone to separate high schools so that each of
them could pursue their own individual talents and dreams.  They are very close to each other.

Congressman Anthony Weiner gave a beautiful Congressional Proclamation to Mary.  Senator Malcolm Smith joined the party and presented Mary with a NYS Proclamation. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer participated in the festivities and gave Mary a beautiful NYS Assembly Proclamation. Each of the proclamations extolled Mary's personal and community activities, her professionalism and her dedication to her community.
Best wishes to Mary Dever and her family in their future successes. Mary
Dever is a woman of passion and compassion.  She has a passion for her family and friends, a passion for her work and a passion for the good and welfare of our community. Good luck Mary.

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