The Echebucsassa Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution gathered at Memorial Park Cemetery last week to honor a former member with a memorial marker at her graveside.
Florida State Regent of DAR, Kay Yarbrough, was in attendance with the group for the ceremony and detailed the long process they’ve walked to bring this honor to Commie Maguire, who passed away in 1955. Maguire was born in 1881 and had three ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. She was a charter member of the Echebucsassa Chapter and Chapter Regent from 1931 to 1933. She then served as Florida State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution from 1939 to 1941.
“Commie Maguire’s service to Plant City and the Daughters of the American Revolution was during the World War II timeline from Germany’s invasions and the beginning of World War II in 1939, through the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 where she actively led all Florida Daughters in support of the Red Cross efforts,” Marie Wunderlich, Vice Regent Echebucsassa Chapter FSSDAR, said.
Maguire is also credited with establishing the first PTA Association in Plant City and in 1940 organized citizenship classes in Tampa for the community. She was the wife of pioneer Plant City physician Dr. Thomas C. Maguire and rests beside him in Memorial Park Cemetery.
Yarbrough is nearing the end of her two-year term and said that when she first came into office, it was brought to her attention that many state regents never received formal commemorations for their years of service. She made it her mission to track down as many former regents as possible to ensure they were all given the honors they deserve. As of last weekend, they have been able to identify, clean and received permission from surviving family and the cemeteries to adorn 24 graves with the memorial marker.
When Yarbrough realized Maguire was on that list, she reached out to the Echebucsassa Chapter with her request. The Echebucsassa Chapter sponsored the marker and began the process of filling out the necessary paperwork and getting permission from remaining family members. It was a collaboration between Yarbrough and the local chapter and when they came together last Friday morning, their mutual dedication to ensuring Maguire received the recognition she deserved was evident in every aspect of the ceremony.
“There was a responsibility from both parties. This was a true labor of love that brought us together for such a wonderful cause,” Yarbrough said. “All of this really came together in the past two years. The one benefit of COVID was that it allowed our packets of applications to the Historian General’s Office in Washington, D.C. to get approved rather quickly. Usually the office is receiving hundreds of requests, but because so much of the world was at a standstill we were able to zoom through and get permission to turn these around.”
During the ceremony, the group pledged to the flag, took a moment to pray and then shared the history of Maguire with the group. Two of Maguire’s family members were in attendance as well. They shared the group’s passion for preserving history and reflected on the values Maguire was able to weave into everything she did during her time serving with DAR and with her community.
The marker was unveiled and the group lingered respectfully for a moment at the graveside before leaving to share a moment of communion over lunch.