Maureen was born in County Offaly in the Irish midlands 93 years ago.  Her parents were teachers, but her mother had to give up her school when her baby Ford had been put up on blocks in the garage and she couldn’t get tires for her bicycle, due to the war.  A family escaping Germany lived in their area, and the English wife gave violin lessons to Maureen and her brother, and then taught her when they were able to get a piano.

Education was important and in 1944 she went to boarding school for three years at Mount Sackville Convent by Phoenix Park in Dublin. It is still a vibrant school today, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, the nuns with the big white hats.  Maureen was the leading soprano in the operas and was noticed by the local opera people. However, when her mother became very ill, she had to run the household until her parents passed.

After the war, in the fifties, there was little opportunity for single women to make a living wage. Maureen went to ‘jolly’ London and worked as a bank clerk, where the books had to be balanced by hand every day. Renting a typewriter, she taught herself to type and used her mother’s old textbook to learn Gregg shorthand.  A school friend working in NYC invited Maureen to come stay with her, and she arrived in 1963. Maureen remembered her father telling her brother that the oil industry was the place to work and make money.

Several jobs in the big city gave her enough skill to one day confidently walk into Mobil Oil HQ on 42nd Street and apply for a job. Maureen was hired immediately as a legal secretary typing contracts.  Reading a flyer circulated only to men, she learned they intended to train employees to be computer programmers.  Three years later, she studied the books, passed the qualifying test and started her climb up that ladder.

At NYU she was certified by the Data Processing & Systems Analysis Institute in 1977, became a Registered Professional Nurse at USNY, received a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Nursing (cum laude) at Hunter College in 1979 and an MBA at Fordham in 1983; all while enjoying life from her apartment with her own piano in Stuyvesant Heights.  Maureen had joined the tax department and moved with HQs to Fairfax.  Arriving at the airport, she picked up a Ford Taurus, and started a new life that included playing Irish tunes on the fiddle every Saturday with The Breakfast Club in Alexandria. She never lost that Irish lilt in speaking.  After 21 years Maureen retired from Mobil as a Tax Accountant.

Renewing her friendship with a doctor in Towson, MD, her first boyfriend in that Irish high school, they traveled back to Ireland many times. From her townhouse condo near the Government Center, Maureen often walked the grounds of The Woodlands and knew this was where she wanted to be when the time came not to be on her own.

Her plans are that one day she will join her parents and sister in that Irish cemetery.  Meanwhile, she enjoys the Great Courses classes, breaks out in song whenever she can, and digs in her brain for the answers to the questions along Memory Boulevard on Wednesdays. Starting a career in the early days of women’s liberation, Maureen always has been a woman of great independence and determination to succeed on her own. Well done!