Golden Acorn Winners 2014

Mary Louise and Jim Selzer

 

Thank Ma Bell for bringing them to Jacksonville.

Mary Louise and Jim Selzer came to Deercreek in 1995 when Jim was transferred by ATT to head its innovative Universal credit card start-up headquartered in Jacksonville. They had been living in Atlanta, following several moves as Jim moved up in the company.

They are children of the heartland. Mary Louise was born in St. Louis, and Jim in Toledo. Jim was a scholar- athlete, graduating from Rockhurst College in Kansas City, where his basketball team earned the NAIA championship in 1964. After earning his MA in Political Science from the University of Missouri, he joined the staff of St. Louis University as assistant basketball coach and lecturer in History.

Mary Louise earned her B.S. in Nursing from St. Louis University, and they met when friends introduced them. Two years after her graduation they were married and moved to Kansas City with ATT, where their three daughters were born.

Jim says that Mary Louise has always organized groups, from baby-sitting co-ops to book clubs wherever they have been. It is no different here. Mary Louise was a founder of Deercreek Literary Society, and remains active today. Along with Gerry Ceravolo, she worked on the original team that brought us the Tree Program, and chaired the Appreciation Lunch for 3 years. During the years when Deercreek celebrated the holidays with luminaries, she served as a Luminary Captain, and her street always participated 100%.

For the last four years, Mary Louise has chaired the Programs Committee for Deercreek Home and Garden Club. As Program Chair, she led a highly effective committee that provided significant speakers, interesting field trips, and innovative experimental programs like Out to Lunch Bunch. No detail was left to chance. Mary Louise not only conferred with Deercreek Club staff to choose the menus for our lunches, but often supplied her own recipes, and sometimes made the salad dressings to be sure that our meals would be delicious and healthy. To keep costs down, she has been known to personally make desserts for the Deercreek Club staff to serve .

When the Selzers moved to Jacksonville, their youngest daughter, Jennie, was still living at home. She attended Episcopal High, and Jim became involved in coaching the basketball team. He says that one way or another he has played or coached basketball for 50 years.

In 2000, after retirement, Jim took on the responsibility of Executive Director of the Guardian Schools, a pair of inner city schools originally supported by their parishes, which could no longer survive without outside funding. The schools offer an educational opportunity to area children without regard to their religious beliefs. The graduates have an excellent record of high school graduation and further education. He continues to serve on that Board, raise funds, and work with volunteers who make breakfast for the students.

Jim has been a Board Member and President of the Jacksonville Public Board at a crucial and difficult time for our libraries, due to funding cuts by the city. Under his watch, petitions have been gathered to form a separate tax entity for the libraries so that funds cannot be diverted by the city for other needs. He has recently joined the Leadership Council of Osher Life Long Learning at UNF.

Mary Louise and Jim are active members of Holy Family Catholic Church, where Mary Louise organized a Nursery, Elizabeth Ministry for pregnant women, a MOMS Group, and recently G-MOMS. For 16 years she practiced Nursing at Baptist Beaches Hospital.

Both are believers in the value of volunteering. Mary Louise cites the benefits of knowing your neighbors to bring people together for their mutual safety and help when needed. Jim feels that our communities would be wastelands without the efforts of the multitudes of unsung heroes doing work that is rarely recognized, but essential to our quality of life.

Deercreek Home and Garden will honor Jim and Mary Louise Selzer at a luncheon at Deercreek Club on August 26. Contact Sharon Coleman at sharoncoleman268@comast.net or 253-3048 for reservations. You do not need to be a member of Deercreek Home and Garden Club or Deercreek Club to attend. Please come and be part of the celebration.

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