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Theater director Wolford to retire to Florida

January 12, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@herald-mail.com

Though her husband has not made a decision about his future plans, Maryland Theatre Executive Director Pat Wolford said Wednesday she plans to retire to Florida.

After more than a decade behind the scenes, Wolford said she plans to take a seat in the audience and enjoy retirement, effective Feb. 3. Since traveling to Florida on vacation about a month ago, Wolford said she and her husband, Washington County Highway Department Director Ted Wolford, have purchased a home in Ocala, Fla., and moved their furniture.

"We've been down here, I think it's been 30 days now, and I think it's only been three days that we haven't seen the sun," Wolford said by telephone from Florida.

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According to Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer, Ted Wolford has not made an announcement about retirement. In October, The Herald-Mail reported Rohrer told the County Commissioners restoring a Highway Department management position would help the county with "succession planning," if Wolford decided to retire.

Wolford, who began work with the county in 1968, has supervised the highway department about 30 years, Rohrer said. He has a staff of about 85 people, who are responsible for the maintenance and operations of about 830 center-lined miles of county roadway, Rohrer said.

According to Rohrer, Wolford accumulated enough vacation time that he was able to travel to Florida and move into the new home over the past few weeks.

"Normally, it's not common practice for employees to take a month away from the job, but it has happened," Rohrer said.

Rohrer said Wolford had permission to take the time off, and his absence has not presented any problems.

Despite feeling some sadness about leaving, Pat Wolford said she is looking forward to Florida's warm weather. The theater's paid executive director since 1997, Wolford said she plans to return next week to finish out her tenure. She said she began working with the theater in 1994 as chairwoman of its fundraising committee.

Bob Borngesser, the theater board's president, commended Wolford for her efforts saving the theater from financial crisis. The theater now runs in the black, he said.

While he said it would be premature to discuss the details of the search for someone to replace Wolford, Borngesser said the board has begun looking for a successor.

According to board member Ron Bowers, Wolford deserves the "highest of praise" for her performance as the theater's leader.

"She has kept that crown jewel in place, added to its beauty and maintained fiscal responsibility far beyond what anybody else has been able to do," Bowers said.

From Florida, Wolford said she already has heard offers from two theaters to join arts boards. But she said she is looking forward to simply enjoying the view from the seats.

"There's many theaters in this area, and I'm looking forward to being a patron," Wolford said.

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