As construction continues on the new Parish Life Center, the community of Saint Albert the Great Church turned its attention recently to the dedication of three newly opened music rooms at its parochial school.
The new rooms, which previously served as garage space, have been reconstructed to include one large music room and two smaller practice rooms. They are dedicated to Dr. Ferris Anthony, a longtime parishioner and supporter of the Walling Road church. Anthony, who died in January of respiratory failure, served his church in a variety of capacities and was a member of numerous arms that helped shape the church and school the community knows today. He served on the Pastoral Council, the We Give Catholic Committee, the School Advisory Council, the STEM Committee, the Master Plan Steering Committee, the Architectural Committee of the Saint Albert the Great Adoration Chapel, and committee roles that shaped church renovation and original construction. He was also the first PTO president.
A music rooms dedication ceremony was held Sept. 18 that included church and school leaders, students and Anthony’s wife Jane, and son David, a graduate of Saint Albert the Great School, along with his siblings. Jane taught fifth grade at Saint Albert the Great Catholic School for more than 20 years. Following the ceremony, Jane reflected on the legacy of her husband, who dedicated every free moment to the betterment and progression of Saint Albert the Great Church and School. The Anthony family became parishioners in 1980.
“He was a ‘Renaissance Man’ and enjoyed so many things,” Jane said of her late husband. “He was Dean of Continuing Education at Cleveland State for more than 40 years. This was our parish and since day one he was involved and wanted to see it move forward. He loved music and played many instruments, many of which he built himself and taught himself to play.”
Musical from a young age, Anthony played many different instruments including the cello, harp, violin, guitar and drums. He was extremely artistic, enjoying writing, painting and drawing. Dr. Ferris Anthony used his professional expertise to benefit the parish, according to biographical information released by Saint Albert the Great. He used his writing skills to earn grant money for several parish needs and drew on his experience teaching Cleveland State’s Sacred Landmarks Class to assist in the design of the church’s Eucharistic Chapel, among many other accomplishments.
“I know music and music education were very important to my father and having a dedicated space with all the equipment and dedicated practice rooms is really helpful to the school and for the students here,” said son, David, of the new music rooms at Saint Albert the Great School.
The dedication ceremony featured emotional remarks from longtime friend and School Principal Edward Vittardi, prayerful words and blessings from Pastor Edward Estok, and song and accompanying piano from Suzanne Keller and Lori Geyer. A dedication plaque was also unveiled.
“He had a child likeness to him,” Estok said to those gathered for the dedication ceremony. “He was fascinated. He never stopped learning. He never stopped practicing, performing in the arts, serving and loving. All those traits we see in young people that is a child likeness and the ability to sing and play music and dance. I saw students dancing and celebrating and laughing today and that’s what music can do to us, so we always have to keep it in our hearts. It is with great joy that we dedicate these rooms in memory of one who was so childlike, so dedicated to music and life and so helpful to all of us in developing this place for your training and for your future.”
In his welcome address, Vittardi noted how many of Saint Albert’s staples, such as the annual Fish Fry dinners and the structure of the PTO, have their roots in Dr. Ferris Anthony’s unstinting efforts.
“Although his children have long since graduated, he remained a tireless advocate for the advancement of this academic community,” Vittardi said. “Right up to his death he served on the School Advisory Council, and as a steering committee member of the Master Plan Committee which is making the new construction possible including the school renovation resulting in these music rooms. Ferris worked tirelessly for the benefit of the parish and school communities.”


Contributing Writer