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Dorothy Williams, St. Mary’s share a past

After 143 years, St. Mary’s Assumption School closes for good

5th grader Nicole Wartella, 11, leaves St. Mary’s Wednesday for the last time.

Saint Mary’s Assumption School 5th grader Jillian Warabak, 10, left, walks with her parents Cheryl and Tom past Saint Mary’s Assumption Church on the last day of school on Wednesday. The school is closing as part of a reorganization of the Diocese of Scranton schools. Jillian will be a 6th grader next semester. Her parents say she will likely attend Holy Rosary School in Duryea.

photos by pete g. wilcox

St. Mary’s church, rectory and school in a photo dating to the early 1900s. A new brick school was built in 1924 replacing the building on the right. The photo was submitted by

This plaque lists the names of those on the original building committee for St. Mary’s Assumption School. Frank Baumgartner is Dorothy Boos williams’ grandfather.

Dorothy Boos williams points to the name of her grandfather on a plaque inside the now closed St. Mary’s Assumption school.

photos by jack smiles

When St. Mary’s Assumption School on the corner of Church and Carroll streets let out classes for the last time on Thursday all that was left were the memories and the history. And after a run of 143 years, there are a lot both.

Perhaps no one is intertwined in that history more than Dorothy Williams. Not only was her maternal grandfather Frank Baumgartner on the committee that built the school in 1924, her paternal grandparents John and Elizabeth Boos sold the land for the school to Rev. M. J. Hoban Bishop of the Scranton Diocese in 1908.

Though family lore holds that Boos donated the land, the deed shows it was sold. In any case, the diocese got a deal because the lot was big enough for a school and a convent.

Williams graduated from St. Mary’s as did her five children and they are among the 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren of Frank Baumgartner and John Boos to attend St. Mary’s.

The four great-great grandchildren, three sons and one daughter of Mark and Michael Skutack, were St. Mary’s students when the school closed on Thursday.

Williams, 72, was Dorothy Boos when she grew up on Carroll Street next door to the convent which sits behind the church on the land her grandfather sold in 1908.

She said having a dozen or so nuns for neighbors was not a problem. “They were just like regular neighbors,” she said.

She moved away and lived in Philadelphia, New York and West Wyoming, before moving back to the homestead when her father died 25 years ago.

On Thursday after the students left, Williams went to the school to enquire about a plaque in the entranceway. The large marble plaque is engraved with the names of the men who were on the building committee, her grandfather Frank Baumgartner’s name among them. The school principal said Williams could have the plaque and she expects to have it removed next week.

Most of the contents of the school – books, furniture and other equipment – will be moved to other Catholic grade schools which remain open, much of it to Holy Rosary in Duryea. What’s left will be donated to Catholic missions.

The Sisters of Christian Charity founded St. Mary’s school in 1868. The first classes were taught in the church until a wooden school was built on the corner of Wood and Sand streets in 1890. In 1924, a new school was built on the land conveyed by Boos.

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