Mary Lovelace – making our community better

a loving farewell

by Mary-Tsai Davies

GNAG’s success is a testament to the significant role Mary Lovelace has played in our community as director of administration for the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group. Mary has been a community icon for over 20 years, and now she is ready to hang up her GNAG T-shirt.

With a background as a nursery school teacher, she was invited in 1991 by a close friend and board member to be the preschool representative for GNAG. Once word got out that Mary also had a background in finance, she was immediately persuaded to become GNAG’s treasurer. At that time, she was led to believe the job would be simple, “only a couple of hours of work per month.” Little did she know that it was not only going to change her life, but that she was also going to change GNAG. As the executive director of GNAG and long time friend of Mary, I speak from the heart – Mary has been an integral part of my life and of GNAG’s.

Through the influence of role models like her dad and some of her closest friends and community leaders, “contributing to the common good and building strong communities” became an important cause, and Mary’s motto. She earned the name “Granny Mary” long before she became a grandmother. Her caring for children made her the GNAG guardian to every child and youth who walked through our doors. She would attend children’s talent shows, music concerts, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and award ceremonies. She felt every achievement was important and deserved to be celebrated.

Mary is also known for her exceptional work ethic. You would find her at the centre first thing every morning, late every night, as well as on weekends. One would think she actually lived at the community centre. When I asked her what she loved most about her job she said, “Although the emphasis is on administration and finance, the GCC environment is all encompassing. It is a great combination of everything, and every day is different. There is lots of variety and lots of human interaction! Working for GNAG reminds me of my family when I was young – it was always crazy and I love that.”

Granny Mary is special because she has been there for all of us. From eating her weight in bananas during a staff survivor challenge, to schlepping crustacean carcasses to the dumpster after Lobster Fest; from donning a ridiculous dinosaur costume for a preschool game, to driving 120 km into the wilds of Madawaska to get cheques signed; from spending countless hours counselling the staff and clients when woes were surfacing, to rocking a fussy baby to sleep, Mary has set no limits when it comes to taking care of others and making them happy.

Mary nurtures our business and our people. She is the financial advisor, organizer, bouncer, psychologist, welcomer, encourager, supporter, cultivator, caregiver, caretaker, fashion advisor, teacher, occasional performer (with a bit of encouragement, of course), guardian, granny and friend. She is a grandmother of three (soon to be four). Now Mary has decided to move out of the GNAG office and spend more time dressing up and playing “pretend” with her own grandchildren. It’s no surprise that she has also decided to pursue new volunteer opportunities outside of GNAG.

Mary, I speak for all of us when I say thank you from the bottom of my heart and congratulations on your retirement. We adore you and we are sad to see you go. It has been my honour to have worked with you over the years. It has been an even greater honour to call you my friend. On behalf of your GNAG family, this is not goodbye but rather…we will see you soon!

Picture of Mary Lovelace and members of GNAG

Mary Lovelace, bottom row centre, with a few members of her fun-loving GNAG family

Please join Mary Lovelace and her GNAG family and friends at the Farm Team Cookhouse & Bar (683 Bank Street) on Thursday, September 26 at 7 p.m. as we celebrate our wonderful Mary!

Mary-Tsai Davies is the Executive director of the Glebe Neighbourhood activities Group (GNAG)

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