One of the longest standing administrators of Hawley Schools in the pre-Wallenpaupack Area School District days was Albert Haggarty.
Haggarty was principal of the Hawley schools, 1928 through 1956. Prior to that he was a schoolteacher at public schools in Lake Como, Seelyville, Honesdale and White Mills. He lived 96 years, passing away in 1989.
George "Bud" Coutts recalled in an interview in 2012 that Haggarty, who also taught math at Hawley High School, took time to share stories with his students with the aim to improve their character and learn good citizenship.
The late Graham Lobbs stated of Haggarty: "What I remember about Mr. Haggarty was his outlook on life. He taught by example and deeds based on experience. A class would take on new dimensions as he related events."
Haggarty was born on May 5, 1892 in White Mills, the son of Henry and Barbara (Riefler) Haggarty. Henry, who was born in 1859 and died sometime after 1930, was a dairy farmer. One of the glass workers at Dorflinger Glass Company in White Mills was "Henry Haggerty." This could be Albert's father, if there was an error in the spelling of Haggarty.
Henry and Barbara had at least five children, Agnes, John, Frederick, Albert and Marie.
Albert graduated from East Stroudsburg Normal School (now East Stroudsburg University) in 1912 and continued his education at Pennsylvania State University for his Bachelor's degree. He then went to New York University, earning a Master of Arts.
Played, coached sports
While at East Stroudsburg the future educator distinguished himself on the baseball diamond and basketball court.
He played semi-professional basketball and baseball back in Wayne County as a young man. He was on the Seelyville basketball team and served as captain of the Honesdale Maple City Five basketball team. At White Mills he was a baseball team member and captain of the basketball team.
His interest in athletics was carried into his career in local education. Haggarty served as basketball coach at Honesdale and later at the Hawley Schools. A picture of him with the 1929 basketball team, which had won the Wayne-Pike basketball tournament, hung proudly in the high school.
During the mid-1920's he was principal at the White Mills High School. The red brick schoolhouse still stands and is today a private residence. The Haggartys had their home in White Mills at the time.
Previously, he had been principal at the school in Seelyville and taught mathematics in Honesdale.
Known by generations of Hawley kids who still remember him as "Mr. Haggarty," he and his family moved to Hawley in 1928 when he accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Hawley High School. Roger Blough was Principal at that time. This is the same Roger Blough who would become chairman of the board of United States Steel and in the mid 1960's the major benefactor to the Hawley Public Library.
Page 2 of 4 - The high school was still part of the old wooden school building on Academy Street, which was built in 1879.
New high school
During his tenure, classroom space was proving inadequate. The School Board looked at renting the third floor of a nearby factory but that was not found to be feasible. A committee looked at the costs of constructing an addition.
The $6,163 addition was built and 60 new seats were purchased. At the end of 1934 a new high school building was proposed. The incoming first grade that year had created a space problem. The School Board investigated whether Bingham Park would be allowable, but Mr. Bingham, who had donated the land to the Borough, made clear the property could only be used as a park.
On Match 24, 1937, the Board voted to approve building a new brick high school next door to the graded school. A bond issue of $55,000 was approved by the voters in a special election in May. A federal grant of $130,270 helped fund construction.
Ground was broken on December 7, 1937. The new high school was substantially finished by September and was dedicated on December 1, 1938.
Legacy not forgotten
The Library at the Wallenpaupack Area High School- completed in 1964- was dedicated in Haggarty's name. A tennis court in Bingham Park was also named for Albert Haggarty A granite block, facing what is now a basketball court, bears his name.
Art Glantz recalled that Mr. Haggarty was "a very moral upstanding man." He remembers that Haggarty taught geometry and algebra while he was also high school principal. Glantz said that Haggarty was very helpful to him in many ways, and helped him with his graduation speech. Glantz was in the Class of '47.
Living less than a block away as a youngster, Glantz recalls getting a ride to school from Mr. Haggarty on numerous occasions.
Nancy (Killam) Gumble said Mr. Haggarty was her Sunday School teacher when she was a teenager and said he was a very religious man. At high school, he was her homeroom teacher.
"He was responsible for me going to college," she recalled. "I think it was more his idea than mine." Haggarty encouraged her to apply to college. Nancy was one of seven honor students in her class of 66. She went on to Penn State and eventually became a physical therapist. Some years had passed since high school, when Mr. Haggarty- her former principal- was one of Mrs. Gumble's patients. She said it was nice to be re-acquainted after so many years.
"He was a quiet, considerate man," said Joe Drake, Class of '42. "I had him for Algebra 1 and 2. he was a very good teacher." Drake recalled that Mr. Haggarty was always available to listen to a student's questions and help them.
Page 3 of 4 - Ann Morgan, who served on Hawley Council six years and was mayor for 28 years, has fond memories of her teachers.
"He was so proper and so professional, he never raised his voice," she said of Mr. Haggerty. "He was a great man." She said he excelled as a teacher. He was soft, gentle and yet stern. He was in full control of his class.
Morgan, who graduated Hawley High School in 1950, went on to become a registered nurse. She said she had the privilege of caring for Mr. Haggarty at his home as well as other teachers in their advanced years.
Even while giving him nursing care, Mr. Haggarty continued to teach her, she said. He shared a lot about his attention to healthy eating, tips that she then passed on to her other patients.
Morgan was also friends with Mr. Haggarty's wife and daughters; she said she felt part of the family.
Other former teachers under her care included Joe Jacobs and Dan Callaghan.
She said she felt very blessed to care for them in their final hours, to hold their hand and say a prayer, and thank them for being her teachers. She said her teachers played a big part in shaping her life, which helped inspire her to one day be mayor so she could give back to her community.
Haggarty advanced to Supervising Principal in 1946 for the entire school. At the time Haggarty retired in 1956, Maurice Bobst was High School principal, and advanced to Supervising Principal. Hawley School was only three years away from a vote by the Board to accept the new Joint School agreement. This led to the formation of the present day School District.
Outside of school
He and his wife Walbur Anna (Swanson) Haggarty raised two daughters, Audrey, who was born in 1922, and Doris, who was born in 1924.
They lived at 212 Wangum Avenue and later made their home at 213 Maple Avenue.
Haggarty was a very active member at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church where he served on Church Council for 16 years and taught Sunday School. He was Sunday School Superintendent 18 years and was a lay minister, substituting in approximately 14 pulpits in the area.
He was a veteran of World War I. Information on his military service has not been found, but we do know in later years he served as a commander of American Legion Post 311. He was the Post Chaplain for many years.
Active in his community, Haggarty was president of the Hawley Rotary Club, served as director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, member of Hawley Planning Commission, as well as a member a the Masonic Lodge in Honesdale and the Wayne County Memorial Hospital Century Club.
Their daughter Audrey was married to Charles Kline and lived in Allentown. Doris was wife of George Bass of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Haggartys had five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Page 4 of 4 - Mrs. Haggarty died in 1981.
He was living in Allentown in his later years, where he resided at the Phoebe Home at the time of his death on Feb. 17, 1989.
Wanted: "History Consultants"- Would you like to be called from time to time to help with future stories on the history of the greater Hawley area? This series is indebted to many residents and former residents who generously share with the editor what they recall. Stories and photos are always gratefully received. Call Peter Becker at (570)226-4547 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.