Marilynn Buxton

Paton native authors book on school’s history

Special to the Jefferson Herald

Marilynn Buxton, of Waverly, Iowa and Paton native, has authored a document entitled “Paton High School Graduates History 1889-1962; Paton, Greene County, Iowa”.  Buxton is a retired elementary teacher, speaker and published author of educational materials. But she wrote this historical document to honor the community that helped raise her, and it is just in time for Paton’s Sesquicentennial in 2025 and Paton’s 100th Alumni Banquet on May 4, 2024.

Buxton, daughter of the late Paton farmer, Alvin Rapp and Betty Rapp Tuttle, graduated from JCHS in 1969 but attended K-7 at Paton before its closing. Though her family moved after Alvin’s death in 1968, Marilynn says Paton is still her hometown, and the roots are strong.

Alvin’s grandfather, Albanus Jenkins, lived in Illinois, but had purchased farmland in Greene County, Iowa in the early 1900s for three daughters and their husbands: Nellie (George) Rapp, Emma (Harm) Hansen and Mary (Samuel) Anderson. Their children and grandchildren attended and/or graduated from Paton High School. Marilynn recalls gazing at their graduation photos lining the hall at Paton school. 

After retiring from teaching, Marilynn’s curiosity about her relatives and other PHS graduates spawned her idea to chronicle them. She gathered names from the class photos, news clippings and a website called “Greene County, Iowa High School Alumni Lists” at

After a decade of researching and typing, her 108-page labor of love is completed. Nearly 1000 students from several generations, beginning with four graduates in 1889 to seventeen graduates in 1962, plus a few others who attended PHS, are now recorded for posterity. The book contains each student’s name, parents, spouses, life span and burial location and is organized by class. The infamous graduation composite photos are also included. 

The project intertwined with Marilynn’s passion for genealogy on an Internet endeavor. She made numerous trips to Paton and Dawson cemeteries to photograph the grave markers. On a free website called Find a Grave, she and others created memorial pages for the deceased buried there. Every effort was made to provide correct information and links to parents and other family members. Gravestone photos were added to many of these memorials. 

Find a Grave is owned by, so it is a valuable research tool and provides a permanent remembrance of Paton area friends. These URLs show 684 memorials for Dawson Cemetery and 1680 memorials for Paton Cemetery.  

Of course, not all PHS graduates are buried at Paton or Dawson Cemetery, so Marilynn obtained obituaries for as many as possible, and then found or created Find a Grave memorials for them. Graduation photos were also added to the memorials. 

She created a “Virtual Cemetery” for each of the 69 Paton graduating classes 1889-1962 and classes 1963-1965 who also attended PHS before it closed. These allow one to view all memorials for a specific class. All URLs are included in the book, but this example is Alvin Rapp’s class of 1938 where all twenty deceased classmates can be found: 

Marilynn hopes that these projects will allow others to celebrate Paton families and remember past generations. Future generations may find information about grandparents and beyond and see photos that perhaps they had never seen. 

A copy of the PHS book is at the Paton Library and one will be given to the Greene County Historical Society in Jefferson. Additional books have not been printed for sale; however, you may contact Becky at Community State Bank in Paton or Marilynn at They will email you a word document, and you may print the pages. Contact Marilynn to arrange printing a book for you at cost. 

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