Mary Sue Cave, who taught English and honors program courses at the University of Toledo for 32 years and was honored as an outstanding student adviser, died Saturday of Parkinson s disease in the Arbors of Waterville care center. She was 69.
A native of Noxen, Pa., Mrs. Cave began teaching at UT in 1959 after short stints at Redlands University, in California and Mary Manse College in Toledo. She had been a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wilson College in Pennsylvania and completed graduate English and divinity programs at the University of Chicago.
She continued to teach part time for several years after her official retirement in 1991, and served on university committees “for as long as her health permitted it,” said Dr. Dave Hoch, a fellow English professor.
Mrs. Cave, the wife of UT history professor Dr. Alfred A. Cave, had a wide-ranging interest in literature and was best known as the teacher of the Readings Conference seminar in the honors program, said Jim Larson, the program s director for most of the years she taught in it.
The year-long course involved reading a book a week, on average, from throughout the history of Western literature, with frequent papers required. The course was designed to challenge students, Mr. Larson said, and classes were intended to be free-flowing discussions, not lectures.
“I don t know a student who took that class who didn t say, That was the best class I took, ” Mr. Larson said.
Dr. Hoch, who succeeded Mr. Larson as head of the honors program in 1992, said Mrs. Cave s former students marveled at her provocative, penetrating questions, which captured their minds “not only in the classroom, but beyond that.
“She got them to think,” Dr. Hoch said. “They never knew what she thought on a topic, and she made them defend what they said.”
Upon her retirement, Mrs. Cave received the university s outstanding adviser award. In that role too, Mr. Larson said, Mrs. Cave s approach was to make her students think about how best to further their education, since the honors program does not have traditional majors or course-distribution requirements.
Mrs. Cave was active with the Toledo League of Women Voters, and was a board member of the Interfaith Peace and Social Justice Committee.
Mary McManamon, a family friend, said Mrs. Cave organized a local support group for sufferers of Parkinson s disease, with an eye toward ensuring that group members had the best information possible about the disease.
“Mary Sue was an educator at heart,” Mrs. McManamon said.
Along with her husband, Dr. Alfred A. Cave, Mrs. Cave s survivors include daughters, Ruth A. Voyles, Elizabeth J. Kanous, and Rachel G. Cave; son, Lawrence A. Cave; sister, Phyllis Ann Prater, and four grandchildren.
There will be no visitation. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Friday in Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 2955 Dorr St. The Walker Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
The family suggests tributes to the Ohio Parkinson s Foundation or the Christian Children s Fund.