For many of you the NSDAR is a family affair, like the case of Nancy McBride Wark. For over 30 years her mother and mother's sisters dreamed of joining the NSDAR but never realized the overwhelming amount of research often required to prove an ancestor. Nancy, with a passion for genealogy, took on the task and was delighted to discover that the family stories were true. She uncovered that they were descended from John Hart, who signed the Declaration of Independence. She finally became a member of NSDAR in 2005 and soon after her mother, sister, daughter, and niece followed suit. After only a year of membership she was nominated and became the chapter's Vice Regent. Currently she is about to start her second year as the Chapter Regent, and also serves as District VI Recording Secretary and as Vice Chairman, American Heritage.
When her mother developed Alzheimer's, her family wanted to make a charitable donation in her honor and realized that the NSDAR was the perfect recipient. It is this shared passion for the NSDAR that inspired a family gift in support of the President General's Open Doors of Hospitality project. She explains that, "we are very proud to be part of an organization that does so much to help with the education of children, helping with our Veterans and preserving history that are all areas dear to our family."
The family also has several personal ties to Washington, D.C., home of our headquarters, which contributed to their desire to help preserve the historic buildings. In the 1940's, Nancy's mother, Julia Ann Ertel, was a "government girl" and worked first at the FBI then went to work at the Navy Department. It was here that she met her husband, Daniel A. McBride. Years later Nancy and her sister, Mary, were both born in the district. In addition, her father's parents, Daniel and Mary McBride, are buried in Arlington Cemetery for his years of service as a Sergeant in the Army and his participation in both the Spanish American War and WWI.
After growing up in both Washington, D.C. and California, Nancy finally settled in Los Gatos, CA. She currently lives there with her husband, Ray Stewart Wark II, who is a member and a chapter Officer of Silicon Valley Chapter SAR. She has one daughter Kathleen McBride Wark ("Katie"), who is a member of NSDAR and currently one of California's State Regents personal pages. Prior to her daughter's birth, she worked for the Sepulveda VA Hospital until she married her husband. At this point they bought a Skilled Nursing home and she became the Chairman of the Board. After Katie was born she made the decision to stay at home and take an active role in her life.
While Katie was growing up, Nancy participated in multiple parts of her education and after school activities. She spent many hours volunteering at her daughter's schools from pre-school through high school. She was a Girl Scout leader, room mother, attendance office helper, Los Gatos HS Home and School Clubs Parliamentarian, and the Volunteer Coordinator. She also served on the School Districts diversity task force and the high school planning committee, which aided in the construction of multi building additions and remodeling of the high school campus, among numerous other activities.
"...very proud to be part of an organization that does so much..."
In her free time she enjoys genealogy, traveling, counted cross stitching, crocheting lap robes, and reading. Recently, she spent two years compiling 30 plus years worth of research on one line of her mother's family and putting it into a 3 volume book. The book will be a valuable reference and source of knowledge for her immediate and extended family. A copy was also donated to the Mercer Co., PA Historical Society for the benefit of future generations.
The NSDAR has been an integral part of Nancy's life and as a result she has made herself an essential part of the NSDAR. This year, Nancy and her daughter had the opportunity to attend their first Continental Congress. Of this she says, "We had a fantastic time and even had the privilege to serve at Congress, which enhanced our experience." They enjoyed meeting Daughters who live in a variety of places and knowing that they all share a common interest and goal. She was inspired by the other Daughters from around the country who do so much for others and make a point to lend a hand whenever possible. She is proud to be an active member in an organization that she says is true to their mission. She notes that, "when [NSDAR] asks for help to restore the headquarters building that is where the funds go to and they only move forward with a project if they have the financing to do so. NSDAR is straightforward and honest."
Without the contributions, both financially and otherwise, of Daughters like Nancy and her family the NSDAR would not be the thriving institution it is and will hopefully continue to be. We thank her and her entire family for everything they have contributed and hope that others will be inspired by her story.