Stanley M. Irons, a teacher at the former Macomber Vocational High School and longtime flying instructor, died Saturday of cancer at his home in Oregon. He was 95.
Mr. Irons started teaching shop aeronautics at Macomber in 1947. While he was teaching, he took science classes at the University of Toledo. He switched to teaching physics in 1954.
Students knew him as a stern teacher, and he was notorious as a vigilant hall monitor. Many students were frustrated by his strictness, but later appreciated how much they learned in his classes, his son, Stanley Irons II, said.
Mr. Irons was once named Ohio's science teacher of the year.
“He had a lot of practical demonstrations in class,” his son said. “He put things across in a way that made it fun and interesting, and then applied the laws of physics.”
Long before he entered a public school classroom, Mr. Irons was teaching people how to fly.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, he developed a passion for flight as a young boy after seeing an air show. When he was 11, he tried to construct his own airplane out of crates and wagon wheels.
His first attempt at flying never got off the ground, but he learned to fly and repair planes at aviation schools in the 1930s. He became a flight instructor in 1941 for the War Training Service at Erie, Pa.
Shortly after the war, he took a job as a flight instructor and mechanic at the airport in Wood County now called Metcalf Field.
“He was the kind of instructor that let you learn by doing,” former flight student Dr. Bill Davis said. “Even if you got into a little bit of trouble, he'd sit back and let you figure it out.”
Mr. Irons continued taking on new flight students into his early 90s, and was well-known in the area's aviation community. He did annual licensing checks on airplanes for many local flying organizations, and is credited with helping about 1,300 pilots learn to navigate the skies.
He belonged to many aviation groups, including the Aeronautical Shriners, Old Pilots Association of Northwest Ohio, National Association of Flight Instructors, and the International Flying Farmers.
In addition to his passion for flying, Mr. Irons loved to travel. He and his wife, Gertrude, who died about 18 years ago, traveled together all over the world.
On one trip, they took the supersonic Concorde. Mr. Irons was invited to sit in the cockpit.
“That was one of the biggest thrills for him,” his son said.
Surviving are his son, Stanley M. Irons II; daughter, Linda Morrison; seven grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Funeral Home, where the body will be after 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society.