At every opportunity I remind readers to support their local newspapers. My hometown newspaper, The Kent Island Bay Times, was the paper I grew up with, and was the paper that always mattered to me most. As an adult, The Bay Times, led by editor Angela Price, has always been supportive of my writing endeavors, and I’ve always appreciated the encouragement and friendly coverage the editors and writers have given me.
They’ve always been good people.
So it was with great sadness that our community lost Bay Times co-founder Mary Lou O’Hare Rosendale Pierson this past summer.
Mary Lou Pierson was a much-admired local business pioneer who earned respect with her level-headed intelligence, focused energy, tact, and grace.
Born in Baltimore on Valentine’s Day 4, 1934, she graduated from business school in 1950 and went to work the Baltimore Sun newspaper where she met Christopher J. Rosendale.
They married on April 16, 1955, moved to Kent Island on the Eastern Shore in 1962, and started publishing The Bay Times in November 1963 with a tribute issue to assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
The paper’s first office was in the Rosendale’s home kitchen. As each of their six children became old enough, they started working for their parents’ publication.
Mary Lou started working for Reginald Jones Real Estate in 1973.
The Rosendales sold The Bay Times in 1974.
In 1978, Mary Lou Rosendale started Rosendale Realty, which she expanded over the years by buying out other area brokers, including Reggie Jones. A number of her children and grandchildren followed her into the real estate business, and Rosendale Realty, which is now overseen by her son Michael Rosendale and his wife Tammy, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Christopher Rosendale died in 1994.
In November 1996, Mary Lou married businessman Thomas Pierson of Grasonville, MD. Together they enjoyed dancing and traveling, and her faith remained an important part of her life.
Another important piece of Mary Lou’s story was her civic-minded love and commitment to her community, specifically Queen Anne’s County. She was instrumental in the founding and construction of Kent Island’s first Catholic Church, St. Christopher’s, as well as the Island branch of the county library. She also worked with other leaders in founding the United Way of Queen Anne’s County, and helped pave the way for establishment of our Advanced Life Support system.
“She loved this community. I don’t think she ever forgot anyone. She was a good woman and did so many good things,” Linda Friday, president of the Chamber of Commerce said in a recent Bay Times interview. “She was an accomplished woman, a kind, thoughtful, generous woman. She was a lady. She’s going to be missed.”
Among her many achievements, Pierson was the QAC Chamber of Commerce’s first female chairperson, and was named the organization’s first Business Leader of the Year. In 2014, the Chamber awarded her its first Lifetime Achievement Award. She was the first woman to chair the Maryland Real Estate Commission. The Bay Area Association of Realtors has an award named the Mary Lou Rosendale Award of Excellence for “female groundbreakers, leaders in the industry following in her footsteps.”
“Mary Lou was an awesome woman, always very caring,” Realtor, protégé, and friend (as well as easternshorebrent’s sister) Norma Coursey told The Bay Times, Mary Lou’s first Eastern Shore business venture. “She had a vision, she was a trailblazer for women and a mentor to many. I was so happy for her in her later years, when she and Mr. Tommy got together. She lived life to the fullest. She was an amazing woman who could run a business and raise a family.
Mary Lou, Coursey said, “was just a wonderful person with an engaging personality. “People gravitated toward her.
“She was a good woman, and she’s going to be missed.”
And with that, let’s get to the story of the day, a Throwback Thursday Christmas:
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM EASTERNSHOREBRENT.COM
Books by Brent Lewis are available on Amazon.com
Remembering Kent Island: Stories from the Chesapeake and A History of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department published by Arcadia Publishing & The History Press: