Houghton — Mary Adell Boomhower, 89, died peacefully at Wyoming County Community Hospital in Warsaw on Thursday morning, October 28, following a brief illness. She was a longtime resident living independently in Houghton, having relocated from Eastern New York State in 1952, to accept a position on the Houghton College staff.
Mary was the youngest of four children born to Raymond and Edna (Clark) Boomhower, in Catskill, NY. Her three older brothers, Edmund, and twins, Arthur and Albert “Don” Boomhower, predeceased her, as did her parents. She is survived by sisters-in-law, Marion Boomhower of Los Angeles, and Phyllis Boomhower of Catskill, and by her nephew, Timothy (Melody) Boomhower of Efland, North Carolina. She leaves several grand-nieces and nephews.
Mary graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with an AA degree in nutrition and worked for the Houghton College food service for the first 25 years. In the late 1970s the college began contracting with outside vendors to provide board plans, and Mary was offered the opportunity to retool and become part of the administrative support staff as a secretary/administrative assistant to several academic departments. With trepidation, she followed that path and flourished.
She was a loved, respected, and valued member of the college support staff where she served for 45 years, retiring in 1997. In 1998, President Daniel Chamberlain established the Mary Boomhower Staff Excellence Award, which is still given annually from nomination by peers and faculty to one staff member who exemplifies the criteria for which Mary was known: strong work ethic, integrity, willing and loyal spirit, and dedication to serving others.
Mary had varied hobbies and interests: she was a birder, of sorts, who loved domestic and wild birds and always had a parakeet to keep her company as a lifelong single person. She was known for her exceptional and intricate needlework wall art, widely distributed Christmas batches of homemade peanut brittle, commitment to her women’s Bible study, and her quiet, guileless demeanor.
She was a devoted parishioner at Houghton Wesleyan Church and continued her lifelong support of her home church, the Full Life [Wesleyan] Church in Catskill. Mary touched many lives in the community by her humble, gracious, kind way of living and loving those in her orbit. The sorrow of her loss gives way to the Blessed Hope by those of shared faith. Her friends call her Blessed for the godly, selfless, and faithful example she has modeled for us.
She will be buried near her parents in the Catskill Rural Cemetery on Monday, November 8, at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Craig Paczkowski of Full Life Church will officiate the graveside service. Then on Saturday, November 13, at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Wes Oden and the Houghton Wesleyan Church will host a celebration of Mary’s life. All are welcome.
Gifts in Mary’s memory, if desired, may be sent to Houghton College, Houghton Wesleyan Church, or Full Life Church in Catskill.
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