Mary '78 & Tom '72 Barbera
What is your Greyhound love story?
We met at Mt. St. Agnes in March 1971, Tom was the newly elected SGA president. He came to welcome the "girls" to the "men's" college. Mary was not impressed with his message and let him know. We bumped into each other again, on more cordial terms, during class registration for the fall semester. We discovered we were both English majors.
When a banquet was held in September 1971, the dean of students announced that Tom needed a secretary. Mary's friends knew she had given him a hard time and teased her about applying for the job. The next day, Tom saw her on campus when he asked her to be his secretary. She was a terrible secretary, but we became great friends.
To make a long story short, we were friends for four months. We dated for four months. We were engaged for four months. We married at the chapel on August 26, 1972. Father Gene Ahern officiated, who coincidentally had been in the seminary with my uncle.
What have you been up to since graduation?
Tom taught English at Catholic High School in East Baltimore while going to law school at night. Mary had dropped out of college to work, returning to Loyola when Tom graduated law school. On returning to Loyola, she took a Saturday studio art class that included a session of life drawing.
Upon graduation, Mary taught at Archbishop Keough for two years, then concentrated on their three girls while doing volunteer work at church. Later, she took classes in interior design at a community college, but moved before she earned an AA. She did design their last house in Maryland and it won an award! She also took carpentry classes with one of her sons-in-law. We rehabbed a house together before he launched a successful home improvement business. She continued to do volunteer work as a tutor and director of English for non-native speakers.
When Tom graduated from law school, he clerked for DC Superior Court Judge Nicholas Nunzio who presided over the Hanafi Muslim trial which had national coverage. Afterwards, Tom worked for the US Justice Department and then the Attorneys' General Office of Maryland, first in the Criminal Division and later in the Insurance Division. He was appointed Deputy Insurance Commissioner before he entered private practice. He left Weinberg & Green when he was hired by one his clients, Mid-Atlantic Medical Services, Inc. (MAMSI), a regional healthcare company. Within a few years, he was the CEO.
Tom founded The MAMSI Children's Healthcare Foundation which provided service to children whose benefits had run out or who required durable medical equipment not covered by insurance. When MAMSI was bought by United Healthcare, Tom asked UHC to take the program nationwide and they did. He served on their charity board for many years. In 2005, Tom went to Ghana on a church mission to build a school. We moved to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2013. We honeymooned in Williamsburg and returned often. We love it here! Mary is responsible for her 90 year-old parents care and Tom has been a wonderful support. Our three daughters are married to wonderful men and we have seven grandchildren. Our youngest daughter is a newlywed, so there is still the possibility of more grandchildren! We established a family-funded charity, The Ten Talents Foundation, Inc., based on Matthew 25: 14-30.
What is your favorite place on campus, why?
Our favorite place was the mezzanine in the Andrew White Center where Tom proposed. It no longer exists after a remodel.
Who was your favorite Loyola professor?
Our two favorite professors are Sue Abromaitis, who somehow knew we were destined to marry before we dated, and Tom Scheye. Paula Scheye helped Tom get his job at Catholic High.
If you could offer a current Loyola student advice, what would it be?
Be open to different points of view. Challenge your teachers and your friends respectfully. Listen to them respectfully. You cannot learn with a closed mind. Have fun in college, but not so much that you flunk out! Appreciate your parents' investment in your future. Study with a view to your future employment, too.
What would your advice to fellow Greyhounds be for a happy marriage?
Find someone who shares your values. Share some of the same interests, but allow each other to have separate interests as well. Know that you will experience hardship, too. Faith in God can get you through the hardest of those times.
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