May 25, 2024

Mary Shasho Remembered Through CSM Scholarships

Mary Shasho

Two College of Southern Maryland scholarships have been created in memory of the late Mary Shasho, a local volunteer and enthusiastic supporter of all levels of Scouting in Southern Maryland. The scholarship has been established by Mrs. Shasho’s husband, local businessman Harry Shasho of Shasho Consulting.

Mr. Shasho pledged $25,000 to create the Mary I. Shasho Memorial Annual Scholarship and the Mary I. Shasho Memorial Endowed Scholarship at CSM. The scholarships will support residents in the tri-county region who are studying criminal justice. The annual scholarship will be awarded to CSM students for the first time in fall 2017. Preference for the scholarships will be given to veterans and to students who have been a part of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Explorers program.

The latter preference is the direct connection to Mrs. Shasho, who helped start the Charles County Sheriff’s Explorer Unit 1658 in 1986. The Explorers are a senior Boy Scout unit for teens, Mr. Shasho said, and his wife worked with the program for about 10 years.

Mr. Shasho wanted the scholarship to make that connection, if possible, “since that was one of the things she liked the most,” he said.

Mrs. Shasho died in 2014, and she and Harry had been married for 42 years. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m still married,” he said during an interview in February. Mrs. Shasho would have been 65 on her birthday, Feb. 27.

The Shashos’ son, Chris Shasho of La Plata, was too young to be in his mother’s Explorer program. But he remembers going to many of the events with her and how all the Explorer members would visit the house and confide in his mother. “Everybody just kind of gravitated toward her,” Chris Shasho said. “Everybody loved her there. They all treated her like she was their mom.”

Both Chris and Mr. Shasho remember Mrs. Shasho participating in the role-playing scenarios that are part of the Explorer training. “She would get in to the roles so much,” Chris said. “She loved doing it and loved getting involved.”

Jeff Holter, a 27-year police officer with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, also remembers those scenarios and Mary’s part in them. “I was one of the original group that started the Explorer post in Charles County,” Mr. Holter said. In addition, he said he was the first Explorer hired in Charles County as a corrections officer in 1989.

“When the Explorers first started, it was Cpl. [Jerry] Torres and Mary Shasho running the post. … Jerry being a police officer had a quasi-military approach. Where Mary was the lighter side and understood kids and young adults,” Mr. Holter said. “Mary was easy to talk to and guided the post. I could tell Mary had a heart for young people and wanted to help them succeed.”

Mr. and Mrs. Shasho were married in 1973 and moved to Charles County in 1976, where they raised their two children. Both of them worked in the commercial real estate business. “She really helped a lot of people in real estate,” Harry said. “She wouldn’t let go [when helping a client]. She was very gentle, but tenacious.” But family and work weren’t the only focus of their lives. Their Catholic faith was important, too, Harry said. “Absolutely. We went to church every Sunday.” And that faith was at least part of the motivation for her life of service, he said.

“Mary, basically, was a full-time volunteer,” Harry said, laughing. “She’s helped pretty much any organization you can think of.” She worked with the homeless, Lifestyles, Explorers, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Kiwanis, and assisted with the Charles County Chamber of Commerce, among other groups. The Explorers were a group she particularly enjoyed.

Both of the Shashos’ children work in the family business. Chris is the office manager and an agent. Teresa Shasho Clark, the Shashos’ daughter, attended the College of Southern Maryland, where she earned the Dean’s Cup and went on to graduate from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She now uses her background in banking and mortgage officer experience to assist the Shasho business. Harry and Mary have four grandchildren.

For information on donating to these scholarships or creating your own scholarship at the College of Southern Maryland, visit the CSM Foundation online.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit their Leader member page.

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