The Friends of Auburn Heights is a nonprofit organization established in 2004 and dedicated to educating the public about Delaware’s industrial history and the impact of steam technology. The Friends own and maintain the Marshall family’s extraordinary collection of antique automobiles along with the Auburn Valley Railroad. To learn more, please visit our membership page.
The mission of the Friends of Auburn Heights is to educate the public firsthand about an American way of life that flourished at the dawn of the automotive age, preserve the technology of historic steam transportation, and serve as advocate for Auburn Valley State Park.
The Auburn Heights estate (within Auburn Valley State Park, formerly Auburn Heights Preserve) includes the Marshall family home and carriage house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, site of the first Stanley automobile dealership in Delaware; the Marshall Steam Museum, housing a world-class collection of vintage automobiles; a 1/8-size live steam railroad operating on the property; and approximately 456 acres of surrounding park land.
To accomplish this mission, the Friends of Auburn Heights strives to:
- Conduct educational tours of the property, collections and buildings at Auburn Heights;
- Teach the technology of early transportation by encouraging the public to observe, inspect and experience the vintage cars and trains;
- Initiate outreach programs for current and prospective steam car operators and owners through programs and publications that address historic steam car maintenance and operation;
- Offer experiential programs and activities for all generations that inspires a lifelong love of learning and a curiosity in science, technology and history.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Marshall Steam Museum is governed by the Friends of Auburn Heights and benefits from the wisdom, support, and advocacy of its Board of Directors.
J. Stephen Bryce, President
Steve is a retired executive from Hercules Incorporated with a mechanical engineering degree. While at Hercules he had responsibility for both business and manufacturing management. After retirement he was looking for an interesting place to volunteer and came upon Auburn Heights because it was close to home and was featured in an article in the local paper. He has been a volunteer since 2006, Board member since 2008 and President of the Board since 2009.
Steve has always enjoyed things mechanical and before Auburn Heights his efforts were focused on keeping a 1969 Corvette roadworthy. During the spring of 2007, Tom Marshall taught Steve the basics of operating a Stanley which ignited his enthusiasm. Since then he has been immersed in the maintenance and operation of the entire collection of cars and finds it the most rewarding activity he has ever undertaken. In 14 years Steve has driven Stanleys from the Auburn Heights collection on 14 tours.
Robert Koury, Vice President
Bob Koury was elected to the FAH Board in 2018. He retired from the Army in 1994 as a Lieutenant Colonel and worked for the next 22 years as a Systems Engineer and Manager in the Aerospace industry. Bob’s volunteer experience includes the Military Operations Research Society, chairing working groups, teaching classes and serving on the Board of directors for 6 years; serving on church-related committees, and working as a member of the Auburn Valley Railroad Team. His professional experiences include supervision and management of several large organizations, executing multi-million dollar projects and activities. He has led and managed a variety of analysis teams, including a cross-enterprise virtual team of 150 managers, engineers, and scientists for the development, deployment, and support of System of Systems Engineering environment, tools, and human resource networking.
Kathy Beck, Secretary
Katherine A. Dugan Treasurer
Kathy is a native of Redwood Falls, Minnesota, and has lived in Delaware since 1977. She retired as Director, Accounting at the end of 2018 from Ashland LLC, formerly Hercules Incorporated after 38 years in Accounting, Business Analysis and Internal Audit. She received an MS in accounting from the University of Delaware in 1983.
Kathy was elected Treasurer of the FAH Board in 2016, recruited by former Hercules colleagues. Her other extensive volunteer service includes the Board of the Mary Campbell Center, a home for 67 adult residents with multiple disabilities, since 2003 as Treasurer for 4 years and currently as Secretary for a second term. She also served as Treasurer of the Board of the Forum of Executive Women Delaware from 2015 through September 2018 and as a member since 2006.
Mark Bodenstab, Director
As a native Delawarean, Mark experienced both the Auburn Valley and Wilmington & Western railroads. He left the area to earn his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Union College. This led to his commissioned service as a helicopter pilot, where he was able to see “75% of the world!” Mark spent the brunt of his professional career marketing cryogenic atmospheric gases and processes to myriad industries. He closed his working career with a stint as an engineer in the Federal Government.
Auburn Heights satisfies Mark’s curiosities with all things mechanical and historical. But the volunteers and staff of both the Friends and the State Park have proven to be most rewarding. “A few hours with others at Auburn Heights is more fun and educational than any amusement park!”
Charmayne, Ruth Marshall’s niece, is a lifelong Delawarean and was born in Hockessin, now residing on the family farm outside Harrington. An alumnus of both Smyrna High School and Virginia Tech, she spent 30 years in Commercial Lending in the Farm Credit System before joining her son as the CFO of Jenamy Farms, a diversified dairy, poultry and grain operation based in Harrington. Charm is an active 4-H volunteer and for nearly 20 years has served as treasurer of the Delaware 4-H Foundation. She is also a volunteer at the Delaware Ag Museum, having served as a Trustee there for 9 years, and is the 2018 4-H Hall of Fame Laureate.
Her family includes her son Philip and his wife, Annie, as well as her daughter, Sara. Of her many accomplishments, she credits being “Gram” to Karley, Gracie, and Sophie as her greatest!
Matt Chesser, Director
Matt Chesser is currently Legal Counsel for Delaware Technical Community College, where his primary responsibilities are in the area of transactional law. Previously, Matt worked for almost 15 years for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks and Recreation. There, he became the primary architect and project manager of the Auburn Valley Master Plan, which proposed the conversion of the former National Vulcanized Fiber plant in Yorklyn to what would eventually become Delaware’s 17th state park, Auburn Valley State Park.
Matt has an Associate of Applied Science in Civil Engineering Technology from Delaware Tech, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Salisbury State University, and a Juris Doctor from Villanova University School of Law. He was admitted to the Delaware Bar in the fall of 2000.
Matt enjoys the collector car hobby, and he and his family take several car hobby-related trips during the year to places such as Carlisle Fairgrounds and Ocean City Cruisin’ weekends. In addition to cars, Matt also enjoys boating and fishing with his family. He lives in Dover with his wife, Kim, and three youngest children.
Dan Citron, Director
Daniel Citron is originally from Delaware, having been born and raised north of Wilmington. He gained a love of history early in life thanks to many trips to historic sites and museums with his parents. Excellent Social Studies teachers in junior high and high school made him realize that he wanted to major in History in college. During his summers, Dan volunteered and then was hired as a seasonal historical interpreter at Fort Delaware State Park. After graduating Penn State with a B.A. in History, he became a costumed Site Interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg before being offered the full-time Lead Historical Interpreter position at Fort Delaware, eventually promoted to Historic Site Manager. In 2008, he requested a transfer to Auburn Heights to assist with the transition of the property from a private residence to a State Park site and museum.
Dan was the liaison to the FAH Board of Directors and worked closely with Tom and Ruth Marshall, FAH staff, and volunteers. While at Auburn Heights Preserve, Dan played an integral role in creating the first Auburn Valley Master Plan, saving the remaining NVF corporate records when the company went bankrupt, and increasing the permanent park staff from one to five (plus additional seasonal staff) after budget cuts had eliminated or frozen all positions except for his.
In late 2015, Dan became Executive Director of the New Castle Historical Society, a role he thoroughly enjoyed until becoming Historic Sites Program Manager at Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. He still volunteers with FAH and is a steam car operator and chair of the Collections Committee. Dan lives in Bellefonte, DE with his wife, Heather, and daughter Leah. In addition to steam cars, his hobbies include going to museums, collecting whiskey, and reading lots of books to Leah.
Dan Holloway, Director
As a sixth-grader, I first saw the cars at a birthday party of a friend whose father took us to see them. Later in life, you always knew who Tom Marshall was from parades or the occasional Steamer on the roads. I would run into Tom at the Yorklyn Post Office, and he would tell me stories about his father and mine sitting in the machine shop swapping stories. My father owned a tool and die business, so there was a business relationship as well. I particularly enjoyed the stories after my father passed away. Eventually, our brief discussions revolved around fundraising efforts for the museum. I recall the phone call I received from Tom to ask me to join the board at Auburn Heights. I was thrilled and honored.
John Hopkins, Director
John retired in January 2019 as a Branch Chief from the US Army Research Laboratory where he enjoyed a 35-year career as a mechanical engineer and manager. He has always enjoyed the challenges associated with the design and execution of mechanical systems.
John has been a volunteer at Auburn Heights since 1997. He participated in the first meeting that Mr. Marshall held; that meeting led to the formation of the “Steam Team.” Since then, he has been an active volunteer, maintaining and operating the collection of steam cars. John has driven and toured with the Stanley steam cars thousands of miles and is currently considered a “teaching driver.” He grew up around antique cars and has always enjoyed the challenges of keeping old cars maintained and operational. John’s wife, Ellen, and brother Mark are also active volunteers at Auburn Heights.
Alex Joyce, Director
I’m Alex Joyce, from Nashville, a long way from Auburn Heights. In 1982, when a sophomore in engineering school, I purchased my first Stanley. I turned to Tom Marshall and that Christmas vacation drove up with the the engine from my 1914 20-horsepower car in the back. During that week before Christmas, under Tom’s mentorship, I rebuilt that engine on the workbench that the Steam Team now uses every week. When Tom asked me to stand for the Board, I felt and still feel so honored. What he set in motion with training enthusiasts to keep steam technology alive burns within me.
Ruth P. Marshall, Founding Director
In 2008, Tom (1924-2019) and Ruth Marshall gifted their home and estate to the State of Delaware and donated to the Friends of Auburn Heights (FAH) the Marshall Collection of steam vehicles, including the 1/8-size Auburn Valley Railroad as well as two 1930s Packards and a 1916 Rauch and Lang electric car. Their generosity and abiding support have provided the foundation upon which FAH has grown.
P. Michael May, Director
Mike was born and grew up in West Virginia. Interest in cars started at a very young age. Because of this interest, after college graduation in 1968, Mike moved to Michigan for a career spent with Ford Motor Company. Already into the antique car hobby, the first Stanley was purchased in 1970. This was the beginning of a devotion to the Stanley cars, their history and the operation of them on the road. Over the years, Mike has owned and restored several Stanley cars. These Stanley restorations have received awards for Grand Champions at the Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village, Antique Automobile Club of America first prizes plus Phamphilon awards and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Through the Stanley interest, Mike came to know Tom Marshall as a friend and mentor. This association led to Tom asking Mike to be the first President of the Board for the Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve and Marshall Steam Museum, the organization he started as “The Marshall Steam Team.” As a current Board member, he serves on the Collections Committee. Mike continues to work on Stanley cars and participate in car tours.
Mike lives in Northport, Michigan, with his wife, Kathryn. Their daughter and her family are also in Michigan and enjoy the activity with the Stanley cars.
Robert J. Reilly, Director
Bob grew up in Delaware and has been connected with Auburn Heights in a variety of roles since he first became acquainted with FAH’s founder, Tom Marshall, in 1966. During college, he worked at Auburn Heights for three summers, helping construct and operate the Magic Age of Steam. Bob was a frequent Marshall houseguest and accompanied Tom on many steam car tours, including a month-long transcontinental trip 1982, which led to acquiring his first steam car the next year. Later, he helped Tom formulate the original concept of a non-profit organization to assume long-term responsibility for the Auburn Heights collections (a concept that evolved into FAH), and he went on to live on the property for two years while serving as FAH’s first Executive Director (2006-7). He has served on FAH’s Board since the organization’s establishment.
Bob has lived in Colorado since graduating from Principia College in 1974. He retired in 2004 from a career as an independent computer software consultant, developing and deploying mainframe-based systems for many of the world’s leading banks. In retirement, he is active as a motorman on the volunteer-operated Denver Trolley and serves as treasurer of a railway historical society. He still enjoys operating his 1913 Stanley, which he has steamed on tours in 20 states and counting. His wife, Barb, also lures him out for cross-country skiing and hiking trips near their home in the Rockies.
Charles A. Salkin, Director
Chazz retired in 2013 after a 35-year career with the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation, the last 21 years as Director of State Parks.
In addition to his statewide responsibilities for 16 state parks and over 27,000 acres of land, he was intimately involved with the acquisition and creation of the Auburn Heights Preserve from the initial acquisition from NVF through the development and implementation of the Auburn Valley Master Plan. Chazz was Tom and Ruth Marshall’s principal partner in facilitating the donation of their property to the state and participated in the establishment of the Friends of Auburn Heights Preserve. He is delighted to be able to continue to promote and support the Marshall legacy in Yorklyn.
He is a native of northwestern Pennsylvania and received a BS in Park Administration from Penn State in 1975, followed by a year of graduate study in Outdoor Recreation Planning and Landscape Architecture. From 2005-7, he served as President of the National Association of State Park Directors.
Chazz and his wife, Susan, who are charter members of FAH, have lived in Dover for 40 years. They have one daughter, Emily, and two grandchildren. In retirement, Chazz serves on the board of the Kent County Conservancy and was the Chair of the City of Dover Historic District Commission. He also is a member of the board of the Woodlawn Trustees.
Stanley J. Wilcox, Director
Stanley J. Wilcox has been a Financial Advisor in Greenville, Delaware, for 24 years. A lifelong resident of this area and deeply committed to preserving the area’s open spaces, history and cultural assets, Stan graduated from Kennett High School in 1989, Susquehanna University in 1993, University of Delaware MBA program in 1996, Certified Financial Planner program in 2008 and the Chartered Financial Consultant Program in 2009.
Stan has been on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Auburn Heights since it was formed in 2004 and has served on the Nominating Committee since its inception. Stan and his wife, Kim, live in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and enjoy hiking, traveling and long weekends at their cabin in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.
The Friends of Auburn Heights prides itself on being a responsible nonprofit organization, and we share information on our financial position with members and the public at our Annual Meeting each February. To view a summary of those presentations in pdf format, please click on the appropriate link below.
- 2011 Year in Review
- 2012 Year in Review
- 2013 Year in Review
- 2014 Year in Review
- 2015 Year in Review
- 2016 Year in Review
- 2017 Year in Review
- 2018 Year in Review
We encourage donors to fully research the charities that they support and to make educated decisions regarding their philanthropic contributions. Background and financial information on most charities, including the Friends of Auburn Heights, may be found free of charge at GuideStar.
The Friends of Auburn Heights is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; therefore all donations to the organization are tax-deductible as permitted by law.