By Tammye McDuff
Stauffer Elementary School and the Downey Unified School District’s philanthropist, Dr. Mary R. Stauffer, was celebrated Wednesday, August 23rd in honor of her 100th birthday. In 2014 West Middle School was renamed in her honor. “It is rare that the namesake of a school is present to celebrate their life, especially in such a monumental year,” wrote Ashley Greaney, Public Relations Coordinator for the Office of the Superintendent of Downey Unified School District.
Dr. Stauffer has donated more than $2 million to Downey Unified students through countless grants and scholarships over the years.
Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard recognized Stauffer at the House of Representatives, “Dr. Mary’s favorite saying is ‘be the best you can be’ and her decision that the Mary R. Stauffer Foundation will continue in perpetuity will carry on her legacy of helping ensure Downey students continue to strive for their best.”
The Stauffer Jazz band performed the ‘Happy Birthday’ song while the entire school joined in unison to sing and wish Stauffer a memorable day. Stauffer is responsible for jump starting the STEM program and donating 3D printers and scholarships, noting that her donations are simply investments in future generations.
The school celebration included triple tiered cake, a chocolate dream cake and Stauffer’s favorite, blueberry pie as well as 1,300 brownies and cupcakes for all the students. The highlight of the day was a special parking plaque and parking spot reserved just for her. At 100 years old Stauffer is still driving to all of her numerous appointments.
A special celebration will be held Sunday, August 27th at the Columbia Memorial Space Center celebrating Dr. Mary Stauffer – born August 26, 1917.