In 1977, Marion Phelps, a native Annapolitan, was the first female president of the Board of Directors of the Community Enterprise Development Association, Inc. (CEDA).
CEDA was established as a small business and development advisory and research firm designed to encourage economic growth throughout the Maryland region.
Over multiple decades CEDA provided business consulting services to hundreds of small and disadvantaged businesses, spurred economic growth opportunities, and conducted studies to encourage the revitalization of the West Street corridor in the city of Annapolis. It also made practical business information easily accessible through the establishment of on-site small business units located across the state, developed a pioneering telephone library of call-in pre-recorded small business advice, and conducted multiple programs to assist in the economic and technological development for Chesapeake waterman.
Marion was born in Parole, Maryland, in 1927. She was the daughter of James and Coretta Herndon and entered this world two years before the start of the Great Depression. The headlines appearing in the newspapers the day of her birth announced the start of jury selection for the Great Teapot Dome scandal. Also, a few weeks before that, the local Annapolis newspaper had just celebrated its 200th year anniversary.
Marion was educated in the public schools of Anne Arundel County and received additional educational training from Cortez Peters Business School, Atlantic College, and Temple Business College. She worked at WANN radio station, Fort George G. Meade, and the U.S. Naval Academy as an Equal Opportunity Officer before she retired.
In addition to serving as the president of the Board at CEDA, she also served as president of the Zonta Club of Annapolis and the Crownsville Women’s Auxiliary, served on the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, was the chairperson of the Human Relations Committee, and treasurer of the Committee to Desegregate the former Playhouse Theatre in Annapolis, among many other volunteer work with community groups throughout the region. She was awarded The Dallas G. Pace, Sr. Human Relations Award, and the Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) award from the YWCA. Mrs. Phelps was also a member of the IOTA FI LAMDA Sorority.
Following a lengthy illness, she died in 2010, only two weeks in advance of her 83rd birthday. She had been married to her husband George Phelps, for sixty years.
Today you can visit the Parole street where she lived with her husband George, by traveling to “George and Marion Phelps Lane,” a short distance from the Walter S. Mills Elementary School.