When trying to describe Mary Stark, I keep reflecting on the Girl Scout Law I learned as a young girl. Mary truly exemplifies so many of the characteristics. She is friendly, helpful, considerate and caring. Add courageous, strong, responsible and resourceful. Plus she genuinely strives to make the world a better place.
As owner of Curves on Bluffton Road for the past 10 years, Mary is quick to give kudos to her associate Becky Hilkey, who has helped to shape Curves into the success it is today. “We are a thriving club and continue to operate and make a difference in the lives of our members. Our success comes from the changes we see the women make in their lives, whether it is losing weight, firming and toning or being able to have more flexibility and balance. The club is more than just members working out, it is a community of caring individuals supporting each other, encouraging each other and celebrating all the accomplishments in lives on and off the circuit.”
Becky also has glowing praise for Mary. “I will always be grateful for the example Mary sets for each of us to be the best we can be. She provides excellence in physical exercise and does it with lots of heart, patience and grace.”
Prior to purchasing Curves, Mary was a local elementary teacher for 33 years at St. Patrick, St. Therese and St. Joseph schools. “I always wanted to be a teacher, even as a child. I love learning, and it was my passion. Knowing that I might have lit a spark in a student’s life to look beyond what was presented in the classroom and try to apply that to their own life in some way gave my life purpose.”
That conviction remains in her commitment to Curves. She became a member in 2003 and found great success with the workout.
In 2007 Mary became the owner of Waynedale Curves because “I really believed in the way it could make an impact in one’s life. I went from teaching students in a classroom to being with women who were trying to learn and lead a healthier lifestyle. I have seen many women take control of their health, get off of medicines, fight depression and just feel better about themselves”. Mary’s Mom, Lois Mangona has been a Curves member 10+ years. At the young age of 89, she has close to 1700 workouts and has remained active and healthy.
When she is not busy inspiring her Curves clients, Mary is growing flowers and vegetables, canning beans, raspberry jam and tomatoes. She states, “Gardening helps to calm my soul and “ground” me; I love to be a part of Mother Nature’s palette of color and design.” Mary also enjoys taking many pictures of what she grows in her flower garden as well as photographing the monarch butterflies she raises in the summer from her milkweed patch.
She and husband Bob Stark have been married for 34 years and live with their cat Xena in the Sand Point area. Mary wrote the column “Stargazing with Ms. Mangona” when Bob owned The Waynedale News. “I love exploring the night sky and letting others know what they are looking at,” she stated. Mary attends Saint Joseph Catholic Church on Brooklyn Avenue.
Curves supports the Waynedale community through a number of annual drives such as Tools for Schools, the Associated Churches Community Wide Baby Shower, Waynedale Trails and Sidewalks fundraisers, Francine Mobile Mammography and food drives for the past 10 years with donated items going to St. Therese Church and Saint Joseph Church Food banks.
When asked about her future plans, Mary responds that Waynedale Curves is currently up for sale. “My franchise agreement ends this year and I will not be renewing my contract. I am actively looking for just the right buyer, someone who has a passion to help others on their journey to a healthy lifestyle, someone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others.”
“I am looking forward to retirement so I can enjoy all the things I love to do and have more time with my husband, Bob.”
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