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Helen M. Scanlon, retired teacher, centenarian ; May 29, 1908 -- June 21, 2010

Helen M. Scanlon, a retired teacher and longtime resident of Buffalo's East Lovejoy neighborhood, died Monday in Beechwood Nursing Home, Getzville. She was 102.

Born in Buffalo, she graduated from the Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary School in 1922 and attended Mary Immaculate Academy, operated by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur on Walden Avenue, until they closed it in 1924 and moved to Mount St. Mary Academy. Unable to make the commute to the new school on Kenmore Avenue, she attended Sacred Heart Academy instead and graduated in 1926.

After graduating from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1929, she began teaching at Buffalo School 62. She taught for more than 40 years, primarily fifth grade. She earned her master's degree from Canisius College in 1939.

Before it closed in 2007, she was a devoted parishioner and Eucharistic minister at Visitation Church, where her parents were founding members.

Miss Scanlon taught religious education classes there for more than 50 years and was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society. She took part in all church activities, from Bible study groups to bazaars and the Birthday Breakfast Club. In 1981, Bishop Edward Head presented her with the St. Joseph the Worker Award for her contributions.

She and her late sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth, vacationed in the Adirondack Mountains for more than 50 years in the Fourth Lake region near Old Forge. She also enjoyed traveling to Europe on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

A Williamsville resident in recent years, she was honored on her 100th birthday in 2008 with a blessing from the pope, greetings from then-President Bush and the proclamation of "Helen Scanlon Day" by Mayor Byron W. Brown. Her most cherished gift, however, was an honorary diploma from Mount St. Mary Academy.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Benedict's Catholic Church, 1317 Eggert Road at Main Street, Eggertsville.