Two weeks after her high school graduation, Mary Margaret Drury began a career with the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky., that has spanned 50 years and counting.
As the oldest of 12 children from West Louisville, Ky., Drury attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy and graduated on May 27, 1966. The moments leading up to her gaining employment with the Diocese are “divine providence,” Drury said.
The Catholic Schools office for the Diocese was in need of a secretary and Sr. Mary Charlotte Younker at the Mount thought Drury would be perfect for the job, however, she knew the Drurys did not have a phone. So, Sr. Mary Charlotte randomly called a West Louisville phone number in hopes someone could get a message to Drury. Drury had begun cleaning homes after her high school graduation and that particular day she was cleaning her neighbor’s house when they received a phone call and Drury was asked to answer it. Sr. Mary Charlotte was on the other end of the line and relayed her need to send a message for Drury, when Drury responded with, “Drury speaking.”
Drury expressed interest in the job opportunity and several days passed before Msgr. Raymond G. Hill, superintendent for Catholic Schools, called and asked her to come in on Friday, June 10, 1966 for her first day on the job.
“There was no interview,” Drury said.
Drury said that first day was quite stressful. She had to use an electric typewriter to write a very important letter for Msgr. Hill. While familiar with manual typewriters, Drury said the electric ones could “get away from you real fast.” Approximately five hours later Drury completed the letter on triple carbon paper, with numerous mistakes, holes, and smudges. Drury knew this was her first and last day on the job. Msgr. Hill took the letter, signed his name, and told her, “See you Monday.”
Drury said, “I have seen a lot of Mondays since.”
Out of the 50 years of service, Drury worked 19 of those as a secretary for the Catholic Schools office. In 1985, the Diocese realized the need for another bookkeeper in the administration office. The position was offered to Drury since she was already helping out in that office.
“It was a hard decision to make,” said Drury. “I loved working with the principals and teachers. Everyone was just so good to me.” Bishop John J. McRaith told her when she expressed her struggle to decide, “The Lord is leading you, but you just aren’t looking.” Drury decided to take on the bookkeeper position and continues in that role today.
Drury gained years of experience and knowledge in her roles at the Diocese but one of the most meaningful gains was her best friend, Donna Biggs. Biggs, current administrative assistant for Faith Formation and the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Office, joined the Diocese in 1975 and the two became “instant friends” according to Biggs.
“She’s caring and generous and young at heart,” said Biggs.
Drury added, “We’ve been best friends for 41 years.”
The two ladies also share a common interest: walking. They have been walking together at lunch time since their first week as friends. “She’s such a family-oriented, faith-filled woman,” Biggs remarked. “She’s a joy to work with.”
Ernie Taliaferro, Chief Financial Officer for the Diocese, has worked with Drury for 10 years. He said her work ethic is unparalleled. “She’s very dedicated and on top of her game. She has a ‘get it done now’ attitude.”
Taliaferro went on to say she creates moments of fun in the workplace too: “She can take a joke and give it right back to you.”
Drury said she keeps busy on the weekends. She visits her mother in West Louisville every Sunday and is a housekeeper for retired Bishop John J. McRaith. Drury said that in December 1982, Bishop McRaith was looking for someone to handle some housework and laundry for him. Drury said she thought, “Well, I would like to do that,” and so approached Bishop McRaith and was hired. Drury has been cleaning and doing laundry for Bishop McRaith ever since.
Drury attributes her work environment as the reason she’s stayed so long with the Diocese: “I love it here. I love the people and the job. It’s comfortable and the Diocese has been good to me.”
When asked about retirement plans, Drury said she would like to work until she’s 70 or until she’s no longer “doing a good job.”
Retirement is an enigma to her.
“I don’t know what that looks like, so I’m not sure how I’ll pass the time,” she said. “I’ll clean my house!” she added with a laugh.