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Published: Friday, 12/28/2001

Ex-teacher coached at Ottawa Hills

Karl R. Worstell, 88, a longtime Perrysburg city councilman who spent much of his career as a teacher-coach in Ottawa Hills public schools, died yesterday in St. Luke's Hospital, where he had been recuperating since a fall on Christmas Eve.

His wife, Mary Ann, said the cause of death was not known, but he was taken to the hospital because he “progressively became more tired” after losing his balance in his garage Monday night while handling some Christmas gifts.

Once known as the dean of Perrysburg public officials, Mr. Worstell served 24 years as a councilman. Included in that time was a stint as council president and vice mayor. He also belonged to a number of community groups, including the Perrysburg Lions Club, and was once Perrysburg's TARTA board representative.

He was perhaps best known as an educator and coach, having taught or coached at schools in Bloomdale, Stryker, and Perrysburg before settling into a dual role at Ottawa Hills in 1956. He coached junior high football and track there and taught a variety of subjects. He also served three years as superintendent of the Sugar Creek local school district in the Putnam County town of Vaughnsville, Ohio, plus six years as an insurance adjuster.

“He did what he loved to do,” his widow, a former Perrysburg elementary school teacher, said. “Karl never knew a stranger. It didn't matter where we were. He talked to anybody. He made friends easily and people automatically liked him.”

The couple met while both were teaching in Bloomdale.

Mr. Worstell's mother, the late Zoa Dott, was one of the first women to serve on the Bloomdale board of education. She and her late husband, Hiram Dott, were graduates of Otterbein College. Mr. Worstell, a 6-foot, 6-inch man, also attended Otterbein and played on a championship basketball team there. He also attended Ohio State University. He received a master's degree from the University of Toledo.

Mr. Worstell was primarily a math teacher. He continued as an educator long after his retirement, serving as an instructor at the University of Toledo, a guide at Fort Meigs State Memorial Park, and a tutor at Perrysburg High School.

He was past president of the Northwestern Ohio Education Association, past president of the Bowling Green chapter of Phi Delta Kappa National Honorary Association, past president of the Lucas County Educational Association, and past president of the Greater Toledo Council of Mathematics Teachers.

His hobbies included chair caning, woodworking, macrame, weaving, and rug hooking.

In addition to his wife, Mary Ann, his survivors include a son, Steven; a daughter, Roberta; four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Perrysburg. Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg.

The family requests memorials be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital of Memphis, or to the church.

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