Stan Cheski, 77, of Waterville Township, one of the first teachers in a Toledo Public Schools program offering high school students experience in the working world, died Monday while undergoing heart bypass surgery in University of Michigan Medical Center.
Mr. Cheski had successful bypass surgery about 20 years ago and was able to hike, bicycle, and garden until about two years ago, his daughter Chris Zivic said.
For most of his career, he was a teacher in the occupational work experience program at Rogers High School. He retired in the mid-1980s, family members said.
Students in the program were those whose academic futures were uncertain. Mr. Cheski would teach them the basics of reading and mathematics for half a day. The students for the balance of the day would be at jobs he found them. He also counseled them in job skills and performance.
He liked the variation in routine, his daughter Wendy Wilson said. And he could relate to some of their difficulties. He was a child when he and his parents came to the United States from Poland, and school at first was not easy.
“He didn't have a lot handed to him,” she said.
Retired colleague Nick Szabo said: “He had a good understanding of kids and real genuine sympathy for the ones who were likely to fall between the cracks.”
Early in his career, he taught math at Scott High School.
He was a Navy veteran of World War II and was stationed stateside. He attended the University of Minnesota and University of Toledo, where he received a degree in business.
But office work was not to his liking, and a childhood friend who had become an educator suggested Mr. Cheski become a teacher. He returned to UT and, later, received a master's degree from Bowling Green State University.
Mr. Cheski liked to hike along the Maumee River and to bicycle at least once a week to Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, a 14-mile round trip. He kept a large vegetable garden that always included tomatoes, several varieties of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and beets.
“He was crusty and he loved to get into political arguments,” Ms. Wilson said.
Ms. Zivic said: “He was a person who, when he decided to do something, wouldn't be easily swayed or intimidated by anybody.”
Mr. Cheski's first wife, Jacqueline, died July 22, 1990.
Surviving are his wife, Dr. Fatemeh Samsami, whom he married in 1999; daughters, Candy Flaggert, Wendy Wilson, and Chris Zivic, and five grandchildren.
At his request, Mr. Cheski's body was donated to Medical College of Ohio. Memorial services will be private. The family requests tributes to Toledo Area Metroparks.