Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Born in Huntington, West Virginia, our Queen Mary moved to Daytona Beach at the age of 3. She graduated from Mainland High School in 1966, and attended Mary Karl to become a beautician, a career which she did not pursue. Instead, she attended Daytona Community College and majored in accounting.
In August of 1966, Mary married her high school sweetheart, Bob Cates, who reigned as the 2015 King of The Krewe of Amalee. They had two beautiful daughters - Dawn & Katina. Sadly, their daughter Dawn was killed in 1985 in a car accident. Katina Lynady has been married since 1998 to her junior high sweetheart, Dr. Jack Lynady. Mary has been blessed with three grandsons (Caleb 17, Carson 13, and Cade 10).
In 1976 Mary and Bob started Cates Electric in Holly Hill, Florida. In 1985, they opened Cates Lighting Center and a second store in Palm Coast in 2000. Mary worked in management, accounting, and purchasing for both stores. They sold the business in 2012 and retired, but Mary has worked for Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark Properties as their bookkeeper since 2013.
Mary was a member of the Junior League of Daytona and was Saturday Chairman of Thrift Shop. Fortunately, she joined The Krewe of Amalee in 2007 and has devoted her volunteer time and energy to us ever since. She has served on numerous committees, including Financial Chairman, Storage, Debutante Tea, Floats, Production, Food & Beverage. She worked tirelessly as past Chairman of our Mardi Gras on Mainstreet Dog Parade and also a past Maid.
In her free time, Mary loves traveling, going to the beach and spending time with her daughter and grandsons. She enjoys listening to smooth jazz and country music. You might even hear her humming along with Blake Shelton to “God Gave Me You” “You’re Still the One” or “I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain.
Originally from Miami, Donna Higbee graduated from Stetson University, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Donna is a Certified Financial Planner and Financial advisor, who joined Merrill Lynch in 2014.
Donna has been married to Mark Higbee for almost 16 years and has one son, Mark W. Higbee II, and the four grandsons. In addition to the Krewe of Amalee’s Mardi Gras on Mainstreet Dog Parade, Donna has served on the United Way Community Foundation and the Estate Planning Council.
In her free time, Donna enjoys running and watching her son play basketball.
Alissa Marie Lapinsky, a third generation Floridian, was born in Miami. She graduated from DeLand High in the IB program (Class of ‘99!) She attended the University of Florida for three years before quitting to follow her dream of being a hair stylist. After completing her studies at Central Florida Community College, Alissa moved back to DeLand 16 years ago and opened The A List Hair Salon.
Alissa loves the ocean and frequents New Smyrna Beach. She also likes to stay up late into the night sewing or quilting while listening to Pearl Jam, often making something for her nephews Grant and Camden, the little loves of her life.
She is a member of the Citizens Advisory Council for the WVHA and the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild. Her proudest and most humbling moment happened while serving as President of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild. Alissa spearheaded the “Quilts for Pulse Drive,” where more than 1,800 quilts were collected for victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Donations from all 50 states, and more than 25 different countries made her realize how one person’s idea can grow and multiply into something unimaginably beautiful.
The sewing community means so much to Alissa that she decided to open Oceans of Thread, DeLand’s newest fabric store.
Lisa Lewis was born and raised in DeLand and admits that she’s never had a desire to live anywhere else. She graduated from DeLand High School and Stetson University, and was elected Supervisor of Elections in 2016.
She is married to our Duke, Dwight Lewis, and they have three children – Dwight Lewis II, Krewe Member Kelly Deggeller and Blaine Vanzo – along with five grandsons and one great-granddaughter.
Lisa served on the Stetson Baptist Christian School Board and was its chairman for eight years. She also has worked on the Mardi Gras on Mainstreet Dog Parade committee since joining the Krewe because she “loves the parade and what it brings to DeLand.”
Lisa previously worked in the banking industry with Jimmy Ford and says, “Mr. ford taught me the value of customer service and to lead by example.”
In her free time, Lisa enjoys reading and quilting. But she LOVES watching Hallmark movies!
Born in DeLand, Ginger McCormick graduated from DeLand High School and the University of Florida. She also attended graduate school at Stetson University and opened her own CPA practice 10 years ago.
Ginger has been married to Bobby McCormick for 23 years and has two children, daughter, Bryanne and son, Logan. In addition to her volunteer work for the Krewe of Amalee, Ginger served as treasurer of the West Volusia Kennel Club. An avid dog lover (and former Chairman of our Mardi Gras Dog Parade & Festival,) Ginger enjoys shopping, dancing and spending time with her dogs and her family. She loves all kinds of music..