Jim and Anna Mae moved from the home they built in North Bethesda in 1960 to Kensington Park in December 2017. When you walk by the daily morning fitness class at The Highlands, chances are good that you will see them taking part in the workout. They both say that the fitness class is one of their favorite parts of life at Kensington Park.
Anna Mae was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and came to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University’s nursing program. She lived in an all-women’s dormitory on campus while earning her BS and, following graduation, found employment at Georgetown University Hospital, where she worked for about three years. She then took a position as a supervisor in the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda for about five years.
Jim, who can, and often does, recite a poem for every occasion and topic of conversation, was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area. While at Gonzaga College High School he joined the Naval Reserve, and afterward attended Georgetown as well. He was so anxious to complete his studies that he attended summer school every year and graduated in three years. Jim received his BS in history after the final summer program, and immediately went to submarine school in New London, Connecticut.
Jim and Anna Mae met during the summer of their last year at Georgetown. When asked if it was love at first sight, Anna Mae giggled a bit and said, “Not really. I kept trying to set him up with other women!” They had one class together, became friends, and wisely decided that they really should give this dating thing a try, albeit at long distance. Soon thereafter the Korean War began and Jim went on active duty in Norfolk, where he attended Officer Candidate School and was promoted to the rank of ensign.
At the end of the war Jim went back to school where, at Catholic University, he earned a second bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He and Anna Mae were married, and eventually had five children — four sons and a daughter. Anna Mae retired from her nursing job to assume the equally rewarding and important jobs of mother and homemaker. Jim worked at the Department of the Navy until 1988 and was awarded two patents during his career there. He then attended the Armed Forces Industrial College, graduated with distinction, and went on to receive his MBA from George Washington University. Following his retirement from the Navy, Jim became vice president of Aerostructures, Inc., specializing in aircraft structural analysis.
The couple’s children all attended college and became successful professionals. They have twelve grandchildren but, so far, no great grandchildren. When asked about their favorite things at Kensington Park, both of them answered immediately and in unison, “The food!” And, of course, the fitness class.