At the start of the Fall 2018 Semester, Associate Professor Yvonne Bandy took attendance in her Typography I class at County College of Morris (CCM) and saw a familiar name – De Mare – and jokingly asked the student if she was related to the man for whom DeMare Hall is named. Turns out she was.
“I told her that Patrick De Mare was my great-grandfather,” says Ashley De Mare, of Parsippany. She notes that the family spells their last name with a space between “De” and “Mare.”
CCM is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is particularly fitting that a descendant of a founding trustee (1965 to 1979) is attending classes here during this celebratory year.
“My great-grandfather came to America from Sicily when he was a teenager,” says Ashley De Mare.
In the 1930s, he made his fortune from the invention of the IQ Baseball Pitching Machine, which was sold to major league baseball teams across the country. Ashley De Mare never met her great-grandfather. But she knows from family stories that education was important to him.
“I knew my great-grandfather believed in education, so he donated money to the college,” she says. He also established the Mildred and Patrick DeMare Scholarship, which continues to be awarded to this day.
Following her family heritage, Ashley De Mare chose to attend CCM as a graphic design major.
“All of my classes are in DeMare Hall. It’s where all the art classes are given. It’s cool for me to be in the hall named for my great-grandfather.”
After earning her associate degree, she plans to continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree and someday design movie posters and CD covers.
Her great-grandfather passed away in 1979 while giving a speech at the dedication of DeMare Hall. “While he was speaking, he had heart attack and passed away right there,” Ashley De Mare says, repeating a family story.
Today, the academic building in his name remains as a tribute to the man who both recognized and supported the value of a CCM education – from its very inception.