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A message from the Contributors
Margaret Idabelle (Ewing) Neilson was born on August 10, 1925 in National, Maryland. She graduated from Beall High School in 1942 and enrolled at Frostburg State Teachers College and graduated in 1946 with a teaching certificate.
Her first teaching position was in Baltimore City where she lived with her aunt, Margaret Ewing (Class of 1915). She returned to Allegany County in 1947 and began teaching at Westside Elementary School in Cumberland, MD.
In 1951 Idabelle married James Neilson (Class of 1950) and interrupted her teaching career to begin a family. They had a son, James (Class of 1974) and a daughter. Rebecca (Class of 1975). In 1962, Idy resumed her teaching career. She accepted a long term substitute position in the sixth grade at Thomas G. Pullen Elementary School, the laboratory school that was associated with the college. By the end of the school year she was offered a full time position. She earned her Masters Degree in Education at Frostburg State College in 1966.
She taught for the state from 1962 until 1968, when the state eliminated the laboratory schools. Allegany County leased the building from 1968 to 1976, when it was combined with Beall Elementary in the new facility at Broadway and College Avenue. She also was a cub scout leader, a girl scout leader, and taught Sunday School classes at the church. She retired from Allegany County school system in 1985.
She spent her retirement years working diligently at the Presbyterian Church, participating in the Frostburg Museum, and community events and visiting her children and grandchildren. She died on October 14, 2005 at the Frostburg Nursing Center following a two-year struggle with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia.
She loved Frostburg and Frostburg State University. Our family spans three generations of graduates at Frostburg and our mother was very supportive of the school and its programs. When Jim and I were children, I remember her taking us to all kinds of cultural events sponsored by the University. She wanted us to have exposure to the arts and Frostburg State University made that possible. She loved getting together with other Alumnae to prepare mailings for the school.
Our mother loved teaching and she loved the children she taught. We often think she got back as much from the students as she gave. When she taught at Pullen School she was very proud to be working with the state and not only teaching children, but having a part in teaching future teachers. The first teaching experience many of the college students had was at Pullen School. We recently found a folder full of mementos and notes that students had given her through the years. It was almost ironic that dementia robbed her memory of many people and things, but the one thing she remembered was she was a teacher.
Jim & Becky Neilson