May 30, 2023 at 5:49 p.m.

A yearbook dedication to dedicated volunteers

A yearbook dedication to dedicated volunteers
A yearbook dedication to dedicated volunteers

By Carol [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Niehauses humbled by St. Mary’s School honor 

“It’s humbling,” Tony Niehaus said as he walked into the St. Mary’s Catholic School gym with wife Carol May 19.

Both were being honored by students and staff with their school yearbook dedication. The Niehauses knew about the dedication beforehand, but what they did not know about was the large contingent of family, friends and neighbors who attended the afternoon presentation.

Principal Autumn Nelson read the 2022-23 dedication.

“Tony and Carol have been a special part of St. Mary’s School for many years, giving their time, talent and treasures to our school family. They have become adoptive grandparents to the kindergarten class over the years with watermelon parties, baking cookies and sewing quilts. Tony and Carol have taken care of our flower garden in front of the school, sold their produce to benefit our school, given the students pumpkins, hosted mini-courses at their house, fed the staff yummy treats and so much more,” Nelson said. 

Long-time teachers  Sue Pundsack and Jennifer Frank-Heinze tag-teamed sharing stories about this Melrose couple, who lives across the street from the school.  

Frank-Heinze, who lived next door to the Niehauses, called them the best neighbors, Tony even mowing her lawn. And her kindergarten students were the recipient of May baskets and learning how to quilt and eat watermelon. 

Pundsack applauded Tony for his smile, the twinkle in his eyes and his warm welcome and Carol for sharing her treats. She described the time she brought an outfit to Carol to be ironed. 

“You ironed it right then and there and, wouldn’t you know it, you were baking an apple pie and you sent that pie back to school with me. It had this beautiful design on top, and I did share it with staff,” Pundsack said. 

One Christmas season, Pundsack brought a shepherd’s costume to Carol to fix the missing buttons.  There was Tony in the recliner, “with that twinkle in his eye,” and ice on his knee (after surgery), and Carol finished the costume by the time school was out, and “You gave me a jar of homemade jam and sent the costume back with me in a garment bag,” Pundsack said. 

She returned the garment bag back to Carol on this day.    

When planning Grandparent’s Day one year, Pundsack, who teaches sixth grade and has “been blessed with” many of the Niehauses grandchildren in class, some who were present on this day, went to Tony and Carol for stories about what it was like growing up on a farm. 

“Because of your stories we built an outhouse out of cardboard, which involved tipping the outhouse over,” Pundsack said. “On Grandparent’s Day you loaned me a cream separator … and a pitchfork … .” 

She said it was fitting a yearbook was dedicated to these dedicated volunteers. In fact, after the dedication the Niehauses signed students’ yearbooks. 

“It’s a well deserved honor,” Pundsack said. “Thank you for all you’ve done for our school and God bless.” 


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