TEMPLE PRESIDENT MARILYN WELLAN
A “Jew by Choice,” Marilyn Wellan is the first convert to Judaism to serve Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim as its President. She previously served two terms on the Temple Board of Directors and one term as Treasurer; she served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and on the Rabbinical Search Committee in 2010 and 2011 before begin elected to the presidency in February 2011. She completed Judaism studies under Rabbi Emeritus Martin Hinchin and converted to Judaism in 1982.
A native of Tulsa, OK, she has lived most of her life in Louisiana, and has lived in Alexandria since 1968. Marilyn and Myron Wellan were married in 1977; she has four daughters, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her business background is in banking where she served as Vice President, CEO and Member of the Board for Red River Federal Savings & Loan, and later as a Vice President for Pelican Homestead of New Orleans. For fun, there is not much she hasn’t tried – skiing, flying, tennis, scuba diving and raising cattle are among her former interests. But she has long held an interest in art and is back to work as a sculptor. She maintains a studio at River Oaks Square Arts Center where her work was featured in recent exhibits in fall 2010 and again in fall 2012.
After her retirement from business in the eighties, Marilyn developed a love of roses, and began to create rose gardens for their home gardens and for others. That love grew to a “career” in the world of roses, where she served two terms as president of her local rose society, followed by her election in 1992 to the national Board of Directors of the American Rose Society, a 20,000 member organization founded in 1892. She served nine years on the 31-member board, three additional years as vice president, and three more years as American Rose Society’s national president from 2003 – 2006. During the years before her presidency, she served on and chaired numerous committees, including bylaws, finance, membership and the Executive Committee. She was recognized for her skills at growing, exhibiting, judging, arranging, photographing, speaking and writing about roses. She received numerous awards and recognition for service (all volunteer), including being granted the title “Master Rosarian” and being named a “Great Rosarian of the World” in New York City in 2009. Her “career” in roses took her to the great cities and rose gardens of America, England and France.
Back home now, Marilyn is concentrating on home and family, her art and rose garden. She is also devoted to her Temple home and family, and is especially pleased to be working with a committed Board of Directors, and numerous dedicated committee chairs and members. She sees great potential for the Congregation’s future because of its long line of dedicated leaders, generous members, a wealth of youth, and a beautiful synagogue in which to gather and worship.
Marilyn wants everyone to know: “The Temple is a friendly place, and new members and guests are always welcome.”