Marybelle Stone is old enough to remember when the office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was at 14th and U streets NW and when Marion Barry was a young man who taught teenage boys, including her son, how to repair cars.

Stone, steadied by a cane, was among the hundreds of senior citizens in the audience yesterday when Barry bade farewell to the city he has led for 12 years. He spoke at the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, a $50 million anchor of redevelopment that sits where the civil rights organization once had its office.

"We love him very much," said Stone, referring to the sentiments of her neighbors at Garfield Terrace, a senior citizens' building at 11th Street and Florida Avenue NW.

"He comes over to see us. When he comes here, we pack the recreation room and everybody is hugging and kissing. We treat him like family and he treats us like that."

It was obvious yesterday that Barry will be remembered fondly by many elderly residents of the District, especially those who live in city-owned buildings. They have praised him for the services they received under his administration. They made up more than half his audience yesterday, most of them having been transported to the Reeves Center in Department of Recreation vans.

The seniors, most of them women, remained loyal to the end, interrupting his speech with enthusiastic applause, giving him a standing ovation when he entered with his wife, Effi, and when he finished.

"You got shocked today! Look! You thought she wouldn't be here, didn't you?" one elderly man yelled at members of the news media when Effi Barry walked in.

Among the younger people present was Linda Ferrell, a District government secretary, who stood with her 2-year-old son on her hip. She had the day off but decided to drop by because "I just felt I had to, to show support because he's done a lot for the city."

Youth Mayor Albert B. Brewster stood on stage and thanked Barry publicly for the opportunities he provided under the Mayor's Youth Leadership Institute. Offstage, Brewster, who had to rush back to Benjamin Banneker High School for an interview with Harvard University, said, "I have a great deal of pride in {the mayor} and appreciation for the work he has done for our city and for our youth."

"He will be remembered for what he did for the young people and the seniors," said Stone, 77.

Listening to Barry making his last major speech, she reminisced about the time more than two decades ago when Barry was a young man who wore blue jeans and ran neighborhood programs for teenagers.

"He had a body shop on 14th Street and he was teaching boys how to fix cars," said Stone, whose son, then 15, participated in the program. "He had a lot of spunk. The young people loved him.

"The last time he came to see us was when he wanted us to vote for him for city council," Stone said. "We all went out and voted for him."

Though she had met the mayor many times, yesterday was the first time Stone heard Barry speak publicly, and she liked what she heard.

Said Stone, "He uses a lot of sayings we use in church -- like 'We fought the good fight' and 'We kept the faith.' "