Mary Flood was known for many things, her generosity, her ladylike personality and her intelligence. One of the things she was most known for was her love of books and reading. This love led Mary and her husband Jim to be huge benefactors of the new Dover Public Library. In fact, many credit the couple with being one of the most important driving forces behind bringing the new library into existence.
"Jim and Mary were supporters of the new library since the beginning, since the first drawing concepts were created," said Dover Mayor Carleton Carey. "I'm honored to be here to dedicate the garden in honor of Mary."
Now, just a year after her death, the Dover Public Library has found a way to pay Mary back for her efforts. On Wednesday, the Dover Public Library held a ribbon cutting to dedicate the facility's reading garden in honor of Mary.
"Mary was a wonderful person; they don't come any better," said Dover City Councilman Adam Perza. "Now Mary will be reading over the shoulders of children in this garden."
The Floods moved with their family to Dover in 1959, when Jim took a job as the bureau chief for the News Journal. They moved to Washington several years later where Jim worked as an administrator for Sen. James Boggs before returning to Dover in 1975 when the family founded the Dover Post. The Floods sold the newspaper group in 2008, though Jim continued to write a column for the paper until earlier this year.
"Mary loved reading and she loved Dover," Jim said of his wife.
During the dedication ceremony James talked about the books that are still on his wife's nightstand and about what her books say about her. Her nightstand held everything from a children's book to mysteries, to political biographies, which fed her love of history. Jim mentioned two works in particular.
"On the bed stand in one volume were two plays by Oscar Wilde, 'An Ideal Husband' – who was she thinking of? – and 'A Woman of No Importance.' That certainly was not Mary," Jim quipped.
According to Mary's daughter-in-law, Helen Flood, Mary also loved helping others learn to read.
"I supervised the HOST program at Capital Schools and Mary worked as a mentor," Helen said. "Mary loved working with kids. She came once a week for over five years and helped children learn to read."
One of the things that fostered Mary's love of reading was book group that she and her husband were a part of for 25 years. Many of the group's members turned out for the dedication. Dorothy Snyder, president of the Dover Library Foundation, was a member of the book group along with the Floods.
Page 2 of 2 - "Mary was a wife, mother, grandmother and true library supporter, over the past decade she contributed major funding," Snyder said.
A stone marking the garden as the Mary Clarke Flood reading garden has been placed in the grassy area surrounded by benches in the front of the library.