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Waynesboro woman to celebrate 100th by tossing dirt on capsule

July 24, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A Waynesboro woman plans to celebrate her 100th birthday July 31 at one of Maryland's state parks, which are places not at all unfamiliar to her.

Helen "Holly" (Besley) Overington is the daughter of Maryland's first state forester, Fred W. Besley. She was born in 1907, the year her father recorded the deed for Maryland's first public forest land.

On her birthday, Overington will throw the first handful of dirt onto a time capsule being buried at Gambrill State Park near Frederick, Md.

Overington, in a news release, shared memories of camping at Patapsco Reserve, which later became the first state park in Maryland.

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"People didn't know much about outdoor recreation then. (My) father made his family camp at Patapsco on weekends at the Orange Grove camp. It was a way to show the urban population what outdoor recreation was like," she said.

Overington certainly understands outdoor recreation, with years of camping, hiking and bicycling in her lifetime. A picture posted on the Maryland Forestry and Parks Centennial Web site shows Overington riding a zip line between trees on her 82nd birthday.

The Maryland Forest and Park Service originated in 1906 when Besley became one of three state foresters in the country, the news release stated.

Overington, who married Robert Bruce Overington in 1943, graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore with a biology degree in 1928, according to the news release.

Overington holds a master's degree in genetics and cytology. She taught sciences for 12 years in New York and Maryland, and is director emeritus of Besley Rodgers Inc., a family timber corporation, the release stated.

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m.

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