Surprise party helps mark 60 years


February 28, 1994|By JEAN LESLIE

Norbert O'Donnell of Ellicott City turned 60 this month, and his wife, Betsy, decided to do something special for him.

She planned a surprise party and did her best to invite everyone who has played a part in Norbert's life.

Surprising him wasn't easy. She had to address invitations in the evening while her husband slept, and conceal them in her purse to mail them later at work.

She enlisted the help of her four children and their spouses: sons Nathan, Michael and his wife Terri, Keith and his wife Kris, and daughter Melinda.

Melinda and countless others contributed food for a covered-dish supper.

Betsy took four days off from her job as a medical technician at the University of Maryland Medical system to prepare for the party.

On Feb. 18, Norbert knew that there was some family affair planned, but he didn't expect to find 85 partygoers waiting for him at the Lions' Hall in Ellicott City. At the hall were high school friends, former colleagues from Amoco Oil Co., where he was a journeyman carpenter, and associates from Eastern Waste Industries Inc., his current workplace.

Other guests included organizers from the Howard County Youth Program, where he has worked for the past 15 years as head groundskeeper, and fellow pilots from the Howard County Pilots Association, some of whom share with him the joy of tethering planes at Hayes Field in Clarksville.

Four friends who had been part of his wedding also attended.

Mr. O'Donnell has spent his life in Howard County.

In the late 1940s, with his father, he built one of the first houses on Centennial Lane when it was still a dirt road.

He was a member of the first graduating class of Howard High School.

Rockburn Elementary School, not yet a year old, is going full tilt activities for the kids. This month has been a good example.

On Feb. 2, 98 Rock DJ Stash visited the children for Math Day.

On Feb. 18, teachers, children and parents dressed in vintage 1950s clothes and danced at the Valentine Sock Hop.

The same day, Don Scott of WJZ-TV Channel 13 came to the school to promote physical fitness with Team Maryland and featured the school on the station's newscast. Teachers appointed citizens of the month, and the school had time to present each with a certificate.


Congratulations to Rockburn Elementary School's Citizens of the Month for February.

This month's winners are: Matthew Ardisana, Jamie Caffes, Sarah Pagan, Jason Paul, John Raderman, Justin Howard, Matthew Heilmann, Matthew Flick, Bradley Collins, Carla Thomas, Mason Pfau, Toni Johnson, Karin Herzfeld, Nicholas Monks, Tracie Jackson, Sarah Biondo, Courtney Barkley, Amanda Koch, Veronica Szabo, Stephanie Spence and Sarah Hicks.

Next month's activities begin March 7, when the cultural arts committee will bring a Maasai warrior to eat lunch with the fourth- and fifth-graders before he presents an educational program.

Hats off to PTA President Cathy Manning, who is the impetus for many of these doings. Many first-year PTAs struggle in the beginning, but Cathy and her group hit the ground running.


In 1948, Lucy and Russell Mathias left dairy farming and moved Howard County with their children.

The two shared their birthday month, March, with their wedding date. That year, they turned 38 and celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

Russell took a job at Clark's coal yard in Ellicott City and later worked at the paper mill in Ilchester. Lucy later joined him at the paper mill, and the two worked there until they retired.

Lucy and Russell have 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Next month, they will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary.

The newest great-great-granddaughter, Victoria Rose, was born to great-granddaughter Rebecca Crouse and her husband, Jarrod, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. Victoria weighed 10 pounds, 2 ounces.

Last weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Mathias went to Beckley, W.Va., to meet their newest relative and pose for a five-generation snapshot.

With baby Victoria Rose in her lap, great-great-grandmother

Mathias sits with her daughter, great-grandmother Marjorie Ripple, on her left and proud grandmother Deborah Ripple and her daughter, Rebecca Crouse, on her right.


Howard High School will present one of my all-time favorite musicals, "Carousel," March 10-12.

It features some of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most famous songs, including, "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "June is Busting Out All Over."

The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets, which cost $5, will be available in the office during school hours, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the door.


Centennial High School has announced another set of award-winning students.

This year's PSAT high achievers include James Carothers, Emily Knox, William Parham and Ephrem Rufael, all juniors.

Jacqueline Chu, Sara Hume, James Hsiao, Sandhya Kattakuzhy, C. P. Krishnamurthy, Jenny J. Lee, Eileen Liu and Felice Sun have been designated as Advanced Placement Scholars, having scored 3 or higher on three or more advanced placement exams.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.