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Mary Wilson: the Tyson Event Center's social butterfly

Mary Wilson: the Tyson Event Center's social butterfly

If you've been to any event in Sioux City in the last 30 years you've probably met Siouxland's favorite usher, Mary Wilson.

Among-st the screaming crowd at the Tyson Events Center, in section 113 - 114, you'll find Mary Wilson.

Mary, a lifelong Sioux City resident, has been working at the Tyson, Orpheum, and Public Museum for over thirty years.

"A friend asked if we could help out and so we started helping out. We both worked in this job which was kind of a free date night, you know, didn't have to pay to see anything and we could enjoy people along the way," said Wilson.

Her date for date night? Her husband Larry, who worked at the Tyson for twenty eight years before he got sick and sadly passed away.

Even the loss of her husband didn't stop Mary from doing what she enjoys to do, but she remembers how important the support was for her during that time.

Wilson said, "It was a community and they lost a friend when he passed away too. And so it was very supportive. And it was very meaningful for me to come back to work and be supported by the staff here and the customers that we both have grown up with."

And the people love Mary, within 15 minutes of watching her interact with customers it was clear why they keep returning to her section.

She recalls one story that she says is the reason why she is the social butterfly she is.

"He said you know I just wanted to thank you for being nice to me and my dad, he said we had an accident on the way home. My dad passed away but at least you were the nice person and he remembered that. We talked about you on the way home. And you know if we can make a difference in one person's life by being nice it's well worth the rewards," said Wilson.

Mary has hundreds of stories about her and the customers she interacts with, but what about the people who work alongside Mary, what do they think of her?

"She's wonderful to work with, not only do we work well together, she's a friend, we've been friends through the whole process, and she makes everybody feel at ease," said usher Mike Kollbaum, who's worked with Mary for seven years.

Jack Rickert, who's worked with Wilson for 11 years said, "She's a nice person we've worked with her a long time, we've had no problems, and we look for a good future with what we have now and what the new management might be."

New management has been the talk around the Tyson and Orpheum but that's not something Mary is too concerned about, saying it's time for Sioux City to take advantage of the opportunities out there for growth.

Wilson said, "As a city we only have so many resources, we don't have the opportunity to do that. So it will be interesting and I think it will be advantageous in the long run."

For Mary, working keeps her young and in the loop, and at 74 years young, she has no plans of stopping soon.

"It keeps me moving and I certainly don't want to sit in a house and be a crotchety old person, complaining about everything. It does keep me young and it keeps you connected with all ages so you can have a broader spectrum of what is going on in this world today, which is really important, we have to keep connected and this is a great way to do it," said Wilson.

Including being a prominent figure at events in Sioux City, Mary also runs a day care service Monday through Friday.

She enjoys keeping busy and says being an usher gives her great flexibility in scheduling which allows her to keep both jobs.

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