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Lakesider News

Dave and Mary Ann Hirsch decide to (sort of) retire

By Kevin Greer
Lakeside Communications Manager

After working nearly 40 years combined in Lakeside, Dave and Mary Ann Hirsch have decided to retire and their last day of full time work is May 17. However, they are not leaving Lakeside.

The Hirsches will continue to manage the Campground and Mary Ann will still run the Farmers’ Market, something she started in 2008. Those are things they plan to keep doing for the foreseeable future.

“We like the campground,” Dave said. “We’re a family up there. Everybody knows everybody.”

The Farmers’ Market was Mary Ann’s idea and until last summer, it was on the gravel lot behind the Schoolhouse. She moved it a few yards away onto Sixth Street to make it more accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The Farmers’ Market continues to grow in vendors and popularity, and among the many available items are fruit, vegetables, baked goods and coffee. It runs Tuesdays and Fridays from June 11-Aug. 30.

“I love the Farmers’ Market,” Mary Ann said. “I started that with six vendors on Walnut Plaza, now we have 18 this year. They are all like family and they all watch out for each other.”

Dave and Mary Ann were introduced to Lakeside in the summer of 1977 when visiting in-laws at their rented cottage. The following summer, the recently married Hirsches rented their first cottage and did that every year until 1999. After being on the waiting list for seven years, they moved to the Campground, the same summer Mary Ann began working at Lakeside.

Mary Ann accepted the job even though she had a 70-minute commute from Cleveland suburb Newburgh Heights. Despite the drive, the decision to work at Lakeside wasn’t difficult, even though some of her former co-workers questioned it.

“When I left my job at St. John Nepomucene Grade School, my co-workers were like, ‘What the heck are you thinking driving an hour and 10 minutes?’” Hirsch said. “I told them, ‘You don’t understand.’ It’s just another extension of our home. I love the people here.”

Mary Ann has worn many hats during her 25 years working for Lakeside. She worked the front desk during the summer before being promoted to executive assistant to then-president Kevin Sibbring in 2005. She worked directly with the Lakeside Association Board of Directors, community members, volunteers and donors. She has spearheaded events like Spring Clean Up, the Memorial Day community service, 4th of July Parade and the Plant Sale.

She has also worked in guest services, gates, shuttles, campground, housekeeping, events and Director of Guest Services. Her current (and final) role is Advancement Coordinator in Legacy House, where she handles front desk and bank deposits.

Mary Ann is the smiling ambassador for Lakeside in everything she does. She lends a helping hand throughout every facet of the community because she loves the mission and what Lakeside is all about. She always shows up caring about the people.

“You name it, I’ve done it,” Hirsch said. “You just kind of fill in and do whatever.”

Dave worked in food service in 2006 and returned to Lakeside to work in Maintenance in 2012. Over the last 12 years, he could be found working all over Lakeside, usually donning a Cleveland Browns hat. He’s done almost everything — changing light bulbs, plumbing, electrical work and remodeling. The only job that causes a slight eye roll from Dave is plunging toilets. His main duty during the winter was maintaining the Fountain Inn. Dave has nothing but good things to say about his supervisor, Vice President of Municipal Services Dave Geyer, who is also retiring prior to the start of the season.

“My boss has been great,” Dave said. “That’s what makes your job a lot easier. We just did whatever projects he gave us. He never bothered me.”

The Hirsch’s oldest child, Paul, graduated from high school and was working before Mary Ann took the job at Lakeside. However, their other kids took advantage of employment opportunities inside the gates. Chrissy worked at mini golf, gates, events and front desk. Michael started at shuffleboard before moving on to Sypherd’s Cycles. Michael is an avid shuffleboard player and became an international champion and is recognized for it at the Bettinger Park Shuffleboard Courts. He was inducted into the International Shuffleboard Hall of Fame at age 30 in August 2022.

Mary Ann and Dave have seven grandchildren, adding another generation of Lakesiders to the Hirsch family. While the Campground is a 24/7 job during the season, retirement will free up some time for Mary Ann and Dave to spend with family at home and in Lakeside.

“Last August, I went to the pool and (grandson) Ethan looked up when he was in the water,” Mary Ann said. “I remember sitting there on the edge and he said, ‘Nana, this is the first time you ever came to the pool with us.’ That was hard.”

When campers arrive, Dave and Mary Ann will be able to greet the people together, unlike when both were working fulltime, then it was whoever got to the Campground first. Mary Ann also puts together packets that includes a letter of welcome, rules and regulations, a calendar of events, a map, their receipt and the Hirsch’s contact information.

Christmas in July is one of their favorite weeks of the season. The Campground is decorated, there’s a potluck dinner, Santa visits and the pool rented for campers only for a couple of hours.

“We do all kinds of events together to nurture the little community up there,” Mary Ann said.

The Hirsches are looking forward to doing Lakeside activities they couldn’t do as fulltime employees. They both plan to attend more Hoover shows and go to dinner with other campers, while Dave wants to fish off the Dock and Mary Ann will participate in more Rhein Center classes.

While at home, Dave and Mary Ann won’t be slowing down too much. They are going to remodel their kitchen and make some landscaping improvements in the backyard. They also look forward to traveling with their friends outside the Lakeside seasons.

“We’ll be able to pick up and go if we want to go,” Mary Ann said. “We are already talking about where we can go next.”

Dave added, “It will be nice in the fall. We can go home.”

The Lakeside Community will celebrate Mary Ann and Dave Hirsch on Saturday, June 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Train Station. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend the celebration.


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