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Heise, McDonnell provide PAC naming gift in honor of Heise's pioneering parents

Heise: Catering kitchen represents 'hospitality...with a personal touch'

Martin Heise and wife Brenda McDonnell instantly knew a fine way to honor Helmuth and Evelyn Heise – naming the catering kitchen in the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College for the pair of Garrett County legends.

“Food service is an integral part of hospitality, stamping it with a personal touch,” said Martin Heise, whose parents were Western Maryland hospitality pioneers. “It’s fitting that Helmuth and Evelyn are remembered in this way.”

Martin Heise said his parents’ enchantment with Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County and subsequent hospitality success date back about eight decades.

“Helmuth fell in love with Deep Creek Lake while vacationing here with his family as a boy in the 1940s,” said Martin. “He persuaded his father to buy Will O’ the Wisp, the rustic summer camp where they always stayed, when Dr. Bullard, its local owner, retired. Evelyn first fell in love with Helmuth and then with their new home after they married and moved here. The Lake’s magic beguiled them both.”

Dr. Richard Midcap, president of Garrett College, said the Heises created a multi-generational hospitality endeavor which will be represented at the PAC.

“Mr. and Mrs. Heise were truly giants in the Western Maryland hospitality industry,” said Midcap.

The catering kitchen in the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College will be named for Evelyn Heise, left, and her husband, Helmuth, who were Western Maryland pioneers in the hospitality industry.

 “I’m so pleased that their impressive contributions to Western Maryland’s development as a destination location are being recognized.”

Martin Heise said his parents were ambitious and firmly believed others would enjoy this special place, too.

“They both realized the practicality and possibilities afforded by developing Deep Creek Lake’s potential to be a retreat for vacationers seeking re-creation amid its natural beauty, not only in warm months but year-round,” said Martin. “They first added a modern 10-unit motel to Will O’ the Wisp and, with others, started a small ski area in McHenry to attract winter business.

“Both enterprises were steadily expanded over the next half century, and are still growing and adapting today,” said Martin. “Development of recreation as a year-round industry was a highlight of their business endeavors.”

Both Martin and Brenda believe the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College is a natural extension of Martin’s parents’ achievements.

“Having a well-equipped place for performing arts is of obvious practical community benefit,” said Martin. “This performing arts center can transcend practicality. Experience of and participation in the arts is a powerful tool for getting to better know ourselves, others and this world.”