Mary Carabin will be the first to tell you that she does not need or want recognition for the things that she does.
Despite her reluctance for attention, Carabin will be inducted into the 2017 St. Paul High School Hall of Fame class, which will take place on Sunday. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by RKS Power Solutions. The others being inducted are Tom Bellamy, Charles Mack, John G. Rospert and Mark Schaffer.
Carabin is known as a generous soul who shuns the limelight. When there is a job to be done there is no grousing or complaining. The job gets done and you move on to the next one. This is the work ethic that Mary Carabin learned as a child as she went through Catholic school and it still serves her today. You serve without recognition.
As a volunteer in the parish office at St. Paul Catholic church, Mary Carabin has done the usual odd jobs. She’s answered phones, greeted visitors and directed them to various offices or locations on campus.
But her duties have hardly stopped there.
Carabin spends endless hours organizing files and arranging records that only someone who also serves as the curator at the Firelands Historical Society can.
“I marvel that she has the time to do all the things that she accomplishes,” said longtime friend John Schumm of Carabin, a distinguished person inductee into the 2011 St. Paul Hall of Fame. “She is a selfless person, as most of her activities are directed for the benefit of others. She is loyal to her alma mater.”
After graduating from St. Paul in 1951, Carabin graduated from St. John's Hospital School of Nursing in Cleveland in 1954. In 1958, she began a job at Fisher-Titus Medical Center — where she remained for 35 years, working most of those years as the Pediatric head nurse.
Upon her retirement from Fisher-Titus, Carabin has volunteered at St. Paul in the church office, and also the Firelands Historical Society.
Carabin was active in 4-H as a young girl, and one of her projects was genealogy — which has led to an interest she has followed all of her life.
She has been a Trustee (Board Member) of the Firelands Historical Society for approximately 30 years. and currently serves as Secretary of the FHS. In addition to serving on the Board, she has been serving as Curator of the Firelands Museum for the past four years. As Curator, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Museum as well as for the collection of historic artifacts housed in the Museum and Laning-Young Research Center.
Carabin was part of a group responsible for reorganizing the St. Paul Alumni Association in 1979 after a 20-year hiatus. Through the hard work of this group, the association was rebuilt from the ground up. That included an alumni newsletter, dinner dance as well as serving on the alumni committee and various fundraisers.
In 2016, Carabin researched, organized and created scrap books outlining important dates and people in the parish history, including former Pastors, Associate Pastors, Priest sons of the parish, seminarians and deacons.
“Mary has also tackled the project of converting much of our old files into electronic format, thereby safeguarding information from the threat of mold, fire and other natural disaster,” said Kate McKinney, the parish business manager. "She has done all of this and more with enthusiasm, persistence and a true joy in serving."
Carabin’s family roots are in St. Alphonsus Catholic church in Peru, just south of Norwalk. Her family home was moved to the parish grounds, and has become a museum and the St. John Neumann prayer center.
It then only seemed fitting, that the 84-year old has spent much of her life in giving back to her community and church.
“Mary is true to her Christian nursing training,” Schumm said. “She is a modern-day Florence Nightingale.”
Carabin likely will not like this small summary of her achievements. She will deflect credit for any of the things listed here. But that, in essence, is what it means to be a St. Paul Flyer: to serve without recognition. That is why she is in the St. Paul High School Hall of Fame.
EDITOR’S NOTE: John G. Rospert will be featured in Friday’s issue.