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Memorials and Plaques

Over the years, many in the community have chosen to honor or memorialize a loved one by having a special statue, tree, or garden space on the grounds of Mother Seton School dedicated to them.

Ladybird's Garden in Loving Memory of Jane Gill Chrismer, 1919-2015 

Computers Dedicated in Memory of Andrew Bowling 1971-2018

Dedicated husband of Tammy and father of Haleigh (MSS ’15) and Mason

Mother Seton Statue

Sister Cecilia Rose, D.C. and her sister, Sister Marjorie Rose, a Missionary Sister, (both now deceased) contributed the funds to purchase the statue of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, located at the entrance. Sisters Cecilia and Sister Marjorie Rose were all the family they had.  The gift for the statue came from their inheritance.

Garden of Peace in Memory of Christopher Glenn Ott

young white man in black tuxedo tie and jacket in formal pose for senior picture

Christopher was our 4th child, 3rd son, and our tiniest baby weighing in at 5 lbs. but ending up being our tallest child at 6 feet. Chris attended Mother Seton School through the 6th grade when transportation became a problem.

As a youngster, Chris would regale us at the dinner table with his humorous tales, of which some may have been partially true or not causing much laughter around our table. His sister still talks about them at times.  

Chris loved sports and played on little league teams and progressed to high school soccer and basketball. In adulthood, he was an avid sports fan following the games of many teams, especially, Mount Saint Mary’s basketball. Chris had an amazing memory of stats of the teams he followed and could easily recall them if anyone asked for information. We thought he would have made a great sports announcer. Later in life, he would become interested in Nascar racing and would travel with his friends to various states where the races were being held.

During the year 2001, Chris was diagnosed with having depression and was prescribed an anti-depressant drug. He was also engaged in counseling with a priest as well as other professionals. But all of these treatments would not be enough to keep Chris from ending his life in that same year. After his death, we learned the drug he was prescribed could actually cause one to have suicidal thoughts.  Some professionals think this condition is caused by a chemical imbalance in one’s brain. This may prove to be true since Chris has various relatives who suffer from depression. We may never know.

Chris doted on his nieces and nephews and made certain we would know he loved all of us by writing notes to us prior to his death and which we would find after his death. We hope he knew he was loved in return.

The family would like to thank all those who donated funds to Mother Seton School in his memory and to my colleagues who planted a crape myrtle in his garden of peace. Thanks also to Sister Mary Catherine Conway for having a plaque placed there that designates that it is a “Garden of Peace.”

We pray that Chris was able to find that peace he so desired. He will be in our memories forever.

In Loving Memory of George L. Morningstar, M.D., 1929-1988

The Gettysburg Times, Friday, April. 29, 1988
By Erin Dingle
Times Correspondent

middle aged man in brown suit in formal pose with hands crossed

The small community of Emmitsburg is mourning the loss of their local doctor who for 30 years, reached out to his neighbors in a caring manner. To many citizens of the community, Dr. George L. Morningstar was more than a physician. He encompassed the role of friend, neighbor, listener, and role model.

His kindness and compassion were the trademarks of his practice. “I love my doctor” has been the heartfelt felling of Emmitsburg people since 1959 and with the loss of their family doctor, they are sharing their memories and grief.

Long-time patients of the local doctor were upset and shocked by the town’s loss earlier this week. At the Hair’s Inn salon, just up the street from Dr. Morningstar’s office, talk was subdued yesterday. “He was a dear, sweet gentle man who always had time to listen no matter how busy he was,” said Dee Dammann, who had been Dr. Morningstar’s patient for 15 years.

Elaine Ebaugh, owner of the shop, was an infant when she first met the doctor. “I was devastated when I heard. Dr. Morningstar was always so kind. He made you feel that your problem was special. Day or night, he was there. I’m going to miss him.”

“He was Emmitsburg’s physician. Everyone in this town loved that man,” said Mrs. Ebaugh. Mrs. Damman added, “He was definitely an old-fashioned local doctor. He was so friendly.”

In the local library, talk centered around the loss of the town doctor too. “I’ve known Dr. Morningstar from the time he came to Emmitsburg.” said librarian Katie Warthen. “He has been a pillar in this community and will be remembered as a man of compassion.” Dr. Morningstar, who delivered two of Mrs. Warthen’s children, developed a strong bond with the family over the past 30 years. “He was dedicated. Everyone knows that. He accomplished so much in his years. I guess we all want to claim a little of our beloved physician.”

The community of Mount St. Mary’s College will also miss Dr. Morningstar’s dedication and compassion. Dr. Morningstar has served as college physician since he opened his Emmitsburg family practice in 1959.

Rev. Patrick J. McLaughlin, the campus chaplain said, “I want to remember Dr. George Morningstar simply as a good man. One who had a sincere compassion for his older patients and knew each one by name. I want to remember him as a man who would call everything to a halt to give his undivided attention to a college student who was ill or hurting. He would always have such a beautiful fatherly sense towards students because to him they each were much like his own kids and he could be a “Dutch uncle” when that was needed. I think the wonderful quality of George Morningstar was that in his approach to healing and medicine was a physician who was a husband and father – a family man.”

Rainee Blakeslee, a local nurse who worked with Dr. Morningstar for the last ten years at both the Gettysburg Hospital and the Mount Infirmary, remembered Dr. Morningstar’s compassion. “He would do all that he could to help people,” she said. Whenever we had to call him, he was always alert, very gentle and listened to what you were saying, even if we had to wake him up in the middle of the night.” Mrs. Blakeslee was impressed with Dr. Morningstar’s ability as a skilled diagnostician. “He also had a genuine love and respect for the nurses he worked with. Many times he went out of his way to nurses who were having problems.”

“What’s the community going to do?” Mrs. Blakeslee wondered aloud. “There is no way he can be replaced. He has his finger and in awful lot of pies that many people weren’t aware of.”

Mount student and editor of the campus newspaper Carolyn Hakes said “He was great. He contributed a lot of time to the Mount and he’ll be greatly missed.”

Patients came to his office on South Seton Avenue from many of the communities surrounding Emmitsburg. In Thurmont, many considered Dr. Morningstar to be their local physician. Mrs. Tuck Willard’s family have been patients for 30 years. “It’s a terrible loss,” she said. “He was not only a good physician, but a wonderful friend. He was wonderful to everyone.”

Another Thurmont resident and long-time patient said “he was spiritual man who directed his life’s work towards helping others. We are a lucky community to have been blessed with a caring physician like Dr. Morningstar.”


All of the children of Dr. George L. and Jane Morningstar attended Mother Seton School

Susie      MSS 1968
Beth       MSS 1970
Jo            MSS 1972
Mary     MSS 1973
Sally       MSS 1975
Dave      MSS 1977
Matt      MSS 1989

The original plaque was placed over at the “old” Seton Center on South Seton Avenue. When the new building was built and the old one demolished, the family was happy to have the plaque moved to Mother Seton School where all of them graduated.

In Honor of Mr. Gordon Love, with Gratitude, Class of 2013

Vice-Principal at MSS from 2009-2013; former Mount St. Mary's teacher

Forced to resign after a serious accident prevented him from continuing his duties. Served on the MSS Board of Directors in 2014.

The Buddy Bench in Honor of Mrs. Dorsey and Mrs. Kirby (Grade 1)

Mrs. Jaeger and the 1st-grade parents who contributed toward this wonderful Buddy Bench in honor of Mrs. Dorsey and Mrs. Kirby. A Buddy Bench is intended to foster friendship on the playground.

In Gratitude to Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C., MSS Principal 2014-2019

short haired white woman wearing glasses smiling in a formal pose

Sister Brenda Monahan, D.C. served as Principal of Mother Seton School from 2014-2019. She was the last Daughter of Charity to serve in that role.

Sister Brenda embraced the edict of Love, Lead, Learn. She touched the lives of all who knew her. Sister Brenda was an advocate for children and families, passionate about providing the best in Catholic education, an inspiring example of leading with love. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and with enthusiasm for life. Her smile was a beacon of light and hope for many.



Serene Garden In Loving Memory of Sarah Anne Gallagher, 1909-1988

Sister Vincentia and her, cousin, John Gallagher, established a scholarship in Sarah’s name in 1991. Sarah is Sister Vincentia’s Aunt, the sister of her Mother, and the Mother of John Gallagher. With the scholarship, they created the garden memorial, located outside the entrance of the older wing of MSS.

The Landscape of Life in Loving Memory of John L. Conway, Sr., 1914-2002

young white nun pinning corsage on older white man's suit jacket

John Lawrence Conway was born on May 28, 1914 in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in St. John’s Irish Tenth Ward. John, called Larry, was introduced to the Daughters of Charity at an early age, as he and his three older sisters were taught by the Daughters in separate schools for boys and girls.

Larry’s Dad, John Lawrence, died when he was two years old. His mother, family sisters and the Daughters spoiled him royally. Larry’s Mom died when he was 18 years old.

In 1936 Larry (21) married Mary Dolores (17.) They were blessed with seven children, 19 grandchildren, and (today) 41 great grandchildren.

Larry was employed in parking management in Baltimore City until his retirement.

Although Larry’s formal education ended in Grade 8, throughout his life he was an avid and versatile reader. His children teased that he earned his PhD through reading. It was easy to buy him a gift. A good book or a gift certificate to a local bookstore always delighted Larry.

After Larry’s daughter, Mary Catherine, entered the Daughters of Charity in 1960, the Daughters were his extended family for the rest of his life.

It was a great blessing that Larry spent the evening of his life at St. Catherine’s in Emmitsburg with his daughter, Sister Mary Catherine, Principal of Mother Seton School, across the field.

Larry always loved children and enjoyed visits from the children at Mother Seton School.

Larry had a bond and unique friendship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. No doubt, Mary was with him when he went peacefully home to God on November 18, 2002.

While Larry was at St. Catherine’s, Mother Seton School was engaged in a project to expand the school with a new addition. Knowing how much their Dad had a loving bond with the Daughters of Charity his whole life and that his own Daughter was Principal of Mother Seton School, they decided to dedicate their Dad’s Memorial to the landscape project in front of the new addition. Many generous people donated to the landscape, The Garden of Life, dedicated in memory of John Lawrence Conway, Sr.

(Pictured above with his daughter, Sister Mary Catherine, former MSS Principal.)

Oak Tree Planted in Loving Memory of Preston Grant Blocher

Preston Grant Blocher was the infant son of Charles, Jr. and Georgette Blocher of Taneytown. He died suddenly at age 20 months in 1997. An oak tree was planted in his memory.

In Honor of Sister Joanne Goecke, D.C., our Principal in St. Joseph's Valley - Class of 2014

older white woman wearing glasses and a nun's habit

Sister Joanne Goecke, D.C., served as MSS Principal from 2006-2014.

In Loving Memory of Sharon M. Ford, June 9, 1981-January 2, 1986

rose-toned old photograph of small blonde girl and brunette girl wearing coats and holding bottles

Sharon Ford was the youngest of four children of Harry and Kathleen Ford. On January 27, 1987, she passed away suddenly of a heart condition on the playground of the old Seton Center grounds at the age of four after turning to her playmate and telling him that she saw Jesus and He told her she was going to die and to go get the teacher and the paramedics.  She had spent the week before talking about how much she wanted to go to Heaven to be with Jesus and Mary, and after a sleepless night in which she asked her sister to stay with her, the next morning she chose to put on her best dress and shoes all by herself and headed out to school with her brothers and sisters.  We'll always remember you, Sharon and please keep us in your prayers.

(Photo) Sharon is the one on the left.  Marie, her older sister, is the one on the right.  

The four Ford children:

Sharon Ford

Marie Ford (now Stone) MSS ‘92

Matthew Ford MSS ‘90

Joe Ford MSS ‘87


In Honor of James and Lorraine Wivell Gift of Joyce and Brian Glass/Angela and David Goetz/Robert and Phyllis Gree/Cecilia and Stephen Gregory/Andrew and tara Wivell/Jeffrey and Tammy Wivell

large group of young and old family members

James (Jim) and Lorraine Wivell were the parents of 13 children who all attended and graduated from Mother Seton School, including twins James and Phyllis (‘66), Mark (‘67), Viki (‘66), Jeff (‘71), Angela (‘73), Cecilia (‘74), Doug (‘76), Eric (‘77), Joyce (‘81), Andrew(‘82), Chris (‘84) and Dennis (‘92).  Their children attended MSS from 1958 to 1992.  In 1965, the old MSS on South Seton Ave. closed and six of their children attended the new MSS.  Jim and Lorraine rarely missed a PTA meeting at Mother Seton so their children knew to do their best.  Eventually several of their grandchildren attended Mother Seton, and now some of their great grandchildren are current students.

The Wivells lived on the family farm and worked hard there under Jim and Lorraine’s guidance, tending to the farm animals, taking care of the crops, growing a large garden, canning and freezing food for the winter, and doing the endless household chores needed to maintain a large family.  Sometimes farm chores were completed before catching the bus for school.  “Reduce, reuse and recycle” was a way of life on the Wivell farm long before it became a national slogan.  Nonetheless, there was also plenty of time for adventurous play.

Jim had a sense of humor which his children enjoyed.  He worked long hours farming and shared his love of farming with his family. Hot summer Sundays were sometimes spent swimming and picnicking at the creek on the farm; ice skating was popular in the winter.  Jim had a calm demeanor.  When he held a baby, usually both of them fell asleep. 

Lorraine loved to read and was a regular at the Emmitsburg Public Library. She often read several books a week and encouraged her children to read.  Lorraine made Sunday dinners a special occasion with a hearty homegrown meal, topped off with a homemade dessert.  She loved to listen to young people talk about their future plans.  In later years, Lorraine was a volunteer cook at the Up- County Family Support Center in Emmitsburg where she mentored many young mothers.   

Jim and Lorraine attended weekly Mass with their family at St. Anthony Shrine and shared their strong faith with their children.  They supported any child’s plans for further education after high school.  In their later years, they retired to a cottage nearby at their son Jeff’s farm where Jim was born, and their children, along with their spouses, spent many memorable hours tending to the couple’s needs.  Jim and Lorraine have 31 grandchildren counting Dennis’ baby due in December and 33 great grandchildren.  They are lovingly remembered by their family for their tireless commitment to family and their strong Christian values. 

Wivell Family Photo

(Back row l-r) Andrew, Eric, Doug, Jeff, Mark, James, Cecilia

(Middle row l-r) Angela, Viki, Lorraine (mother), James (father), Phyllis, Joyce

(Front l-r) Chris and Dennis