Ellen M. Dombroski, educator at Virginia’s Paul VI Catholic High School, dies at 100


Ellen M. Dombroski, 100, an educator who built Fairfax City’s Paul VI Catholic High School’s student library from scratch, died March 17 at her home in Alexandria. (Family photo)

Ellen M. Dombroski, 100, an educator who built Fairfax City’s Paul VI Catholic High School’s student library from scratch, died March 17 at her home in Alexandria.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said a daughter, Joan Dombroski.

Establishing the library in 1983, Mrs. Dombroski oversaw the collection of more than 6,000 books, periodicals and audiovisual items, and the development of the school’s research center. She served as head librarian and worked as a homeroom teacher for 12 years before retiring in 1995.

The library was named in her honor in the early 1990s.

Ellen Marie McSweeney was born Feb. 7, 1914, to Irish immigrant parents in Somerville, Mass. She was a 1935 physical education graduate of Boston University and did graduate work in library science at George Mason University.

She served in the Navy Waves during World War II. She raised six children while accompanying her husband on his military assignments before settling in Alexandria in 1961. She worked as an audiovisual specialist at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria from 1973 to 1983.

She sat on the board of directors of the old Camp Tapawingo, a former camp for youths with intellectual disabilities, and volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the American Red Cross in Alexandria.

Her husband of 41 years, retired Navy Cmdr. Anthony Dombroski, died in 1976. Their daughter Roberta Dombroski died in 2006.

Survivors include five children, Virginia Dombroski of Warsaw, N.C., Raymond Dombroski of Winterville, N.C., Marian Dombroski of Cheverly, Md., David Dombroski of Chesapeake, Va., and Joan Dombroski of Arlington; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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