Phyllis Plevyak

Obituary of Phyllis Marion Plevyak

Phyllis Plevyak, a longtime Catonsville resident who became known as the "First Lady of Mount Saint Joseph High School," passed away peacefully Tuesday, March 3, 2020, at Brandywine Assisted Living in West Fenwick, Delaware. She was 95. Phyllis Toole was born January 9, 1925, to Leonard Toole and Sadie Toole in Cuba, where her father, an architect, was working on a cathedral. The family followed his projects, moving to Tampa, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, Springfield, Northampton and Boston, Massachusetts, and finally, Stamford, Connecticut, where Mrs. Plevyak graduated from Stamford High School. After graduating from the New York College of Dietetics, Mrs. Plevyak moved to New York. She worked as a dietitian at New York Hospital, Roosevelt Hospital, and the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel before taking a position at a summer camp in Port Jervis, New York. There, she met her future husband, John Plevyak. The two wed on October 20, 1945, at St. John's Church in Stamford, Connecticut, and enjoyed 55 years of marriage until his death in 2000. The couple settled in West Baltimore, first in the Irvington community, then Edmondson Village, and, finally, Catonsville. For his entire 59-year career, John was a teacher, coach and Athletic Director at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Irvington. Mrs. Plevyak, as well as the couple's five children – Donna, Becky, John, Pam, and Kathy – became active in the Mount's activities and summer camp. Her children grown, Mrs. Plevyak took up her passion for education and taught preschool at Glen Mar Early Learning Center and Bethany Lane Baptist Church, both in Ellicott City. She loved working with children and was known for wearing her Winnie the Pooh costume each year on Halloween – the story of which won her the "Most Spirited Granny" award from the Washington State Apple Commission in its national competition to find a "spokes-Granny." Even after John's death, Mrs. Plevyak regularly attended Mount Saint Joseph activities and social events at the administration’s request. She could frequently be found in the stands of the football field, which was re-named after John in 1998. She always considered the school her home away from home, even after she downsized to a condominium in Elkridge and, eventually, an assisted living facility in West Fenwick, Delaware. Mrs. Plevyak loved the beach and enjoyed summers with her family – which grew to include 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren who affectionately knew her as "Mom Mom" – in Ocean City, Maryland. She was a passionate Baltimore Orioles fan who enjoyed traveling and making her famous homemade fudge. She will be remembered fondly for her independence, Irish wit, and her penchant for stirring up a little trouble. Mrs. Plevyak is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Larry, Lenny and Jack Toole, as well as her son-in-law, Marty Atkinson. In addition to her children, she is survived by her sons-in-law Marty Malarkey, Gordy Dickerson, and Robert Montemorra, her daughter-in-law, Dana Plevyak, as well as her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and dozens of nieces and nephews. The originally scheduled Mass for Mrs. Plevyak has been postponed and will be scheduled for a later date. In lieu of flowers, gifts will be accepted in memory of Mrs. Plevyak at Mount Saint Joseph High School, 4403 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229, or at Arrangements are in the care of Eastern Shore Cremation & Funeral Service, 504 Franklin Avenue, Berlin, MD 21811. To send condolences to the family, please visit
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