Friends of Auburn Heights

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.

 

MISSION

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.

Robert Koury, 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.


J. Stephen Bryce, Vice 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.


Kathy Beck, Secretary

With previous careers in law enforcement and information technology, I was asked by Tom Marshall to help out at the Ticket Booth during the early days of the Steamin’ events. There was no saying “no” to Tom, either then or many years later, when he nominated me to the position of Secretary of the Board of Directors. It is wonderful and enjoyable to welcome the families to our Steamin’ Day events, to watch little children grow up as train enthusiasts, and in some cases, to see them join our team. As some of the first members encountered by our visitors, those of us in the Ticket Booth share our love of Auburn Heights, encouraging newcomers to become members themselves and explaining the highlights of each event. As the secretary of the Board of Directors, I take pride in my “wordsmithing” abilities to accurately record the proceedings.

 

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.


 

Charmayne Busker

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.


James Faulstich, Director

James Faulstich is an accounting and finance professional currently living in Havertown, Pennsylvania. He works for Fidato Partners, a consulting firm providing accounting, risk management, and IT services for companies throughout the greater Philadelphia area. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 2010 with degrees in Accounting and Management Information Systems.


Thomas A. Guiler, Director

Born and raised in Upstate New York, Thomas A .Guiler is Assistant Professor of History and Public Humanities at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and an affiliated professor at the University of Delaware. He researches and teaches 19th- and 20th-century American cultural and social history and has particular interests in the history of Upstate New York, material culture, business, international relations, social protest, decorative arts, and the digital and public humanities. His research interests focus on utopian and intentional communities in 19th- and 20th-century America and resulted in his dissertation on communal groups in the Arts and Crafts Movement: Roycroft, Byrdcliffe, and Rose Valley. He has published in Pennsylvania History and Communal Societies and has received grants, awards, and fellowships from the Communal Studies Association, the New York Council for the Humanities, the Popular Culture / American Culture Association, the University of Rochester, and Syracuse University. He also founded and continues to manage UpstateHistorical, an interactive website that brings the rich history of Upstate New York to life by pinning key historic sites with text, photographs, audio, and video content to tell the story of a particular place, the people that lived there, and events at that location.

At Winterthur Guiler is part of the Rolls-Royce Stewardship Team that manages a pair of 1927 Rolls-Royce automobiles.


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.


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.


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.


ANNUAL REPORTS

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.

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.

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