‘Mother, hard worker, business owner’ – Mary Worden is the daughter of Earl, a farmer and semi-pro baseball pitcher, and Florence Styer Wilcox. Mary was born in Cardington in 1929 with two brothers Melvin and Robert. The family moved to Ohio 602 and Mary went to North Robinson School. She was a cheerleader for three years and loved school. She was also a contestant at the Corn Queen, now the Bratwurst Festival. The summer before she was in second grade, she went to Columbus to babysit the Ferd Unckrich family. When Mary had nothing else to do, she mowed their lawn. Ferd was impressed and always bragged about her. Her parents were supportive; they trusted her and knew that she wanted to work to live well.
Mary returned home and rented a room with the retired Turney family on West Charles Street. They were like grandparents to her. She walked a very long distance to Whetstone Street to catch the bus to North Robinson School. She remembers walking along Hopley Avenue when Mr. Kiess, chairman of the Farmer’s Citizens Bank, raised his hat and said, “Hello, Mary.” This was her routine for the next two years until she graduated in 1947.
Then she got a job at GE as a payroll clerk for the lamp factory. She worked there for the next eight years until she had twins in 1955. Mary married Rodney Worden in 1949 in Galion First Lutheran Church. They celebrated 62 years together until Rodney passed away in October 2011. He was a Timken man and a farmer back home east of Bucyrus.
Mary stayed home with the children until they were in school. Then she got a phone call in 1966 from Alice Ryder of Ryder Brass, owned by Charles and Alice Ryder.
Worked part-time for two years, then full-time
“Mary, I need your help,” Alice said. “I will be traveling for Eastern Star and I want you to take over my job when I am away.”
Mary accepted and worked part-time for the next two years, caring for her family in the summer. Then she started working full time, preparing the company’s invoices. The Ryders later retired and sold the business to Raymond Heil, which became Ryder Heil Bronze. Mary became their secretary/treasurer and office manager until her retirement.
Heil offered to sell the business to store manager Jim Quaintance, sales manager Charles Kinney, who lived in Cleveland, and Mary. She was so grateful that he was selling to a woman. She knew the trade; she calculated the cost of the metal and how much to charge for it. It was a work of Raymond and Mary. They had 26 types of metal with different prices depending on the formula. They bought it in bullion. Jim then moved into the office and did the same job. Neither liked a price change; it was difficult, but Mary understood the gist — “raise the price, or you’ll go broke”.
Ironically, Jim, Charles and Mary bought the business in May 1994 at a time when they should all have retired. They were healthy, feeling good, and bought because the potential buyers lived overseas. They knew that in a few years it would be sold and they wanted the employees to have work here, as always. The three new owners continued to do their job. They didn’t change anything until they retired and sold the business in 2008.
Herb Kleine had been with the business for about five years and the three owners waited until he felt comfortable making the transition to becoming the next owner. He didn’t want partners. (Herb is a huge OSU fan, played in the band, and has dotted the “I” five times; his license plate reads “I-DOT-5”. See his 2017 story.) Herb bought the business and also bought Raymond Heil’s house in the country.
Collar a recall of special group of workers
Marie loved her job. She did much the same kind of work when she retired as when she started. She liked all the guys in the store. They were wonderful. One year they gave him money for Christmas. She went straight to a jeweler and bought a necklace that reminded Mary how special they were to her.
Mary is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Bucyrus, the former Twin Club, and the International Order of the King’s Daughters and Sons. She also loves genealogy and is part of the local chapter.
No grass grows under Mary’s feet, literally. It takes him three hours to mow his garden every week. Every Saturday you’ll find Mary, now 92, cooking lunch for her family – her sons Dave, Don and Jim, their wives and a host of grandchildren. The weekly count varies because you never know who’s coming.
Mary’s words of wisdom, “Life is good, that’s what I tell everyone.” When she was 90, the grandchildren wore red T-shirts that read “Life is good.” It’s also on a sign in his garden. She is a great example for everyone.
Go online for more Mary Fox stories and photos at bucyrustelegraphforum.com. If you would like to share a story, write to Mary Fox, 931 Marion Road, Bucyrus, OH 44820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.