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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

School leader enjoyed work with students

DEFIANCE - James E. Shugars, 46, principal of Anthony Wayne Elementary here, died of an apparent heart attack yesterday in Paulding County Hospital, Paulding, Ohio.

"Every decision he made, he thought about the children first," Sheri Steyer, principal of Slocum Elementary in Defiance, said. "He loved being around the children."

Mr. Shugars, a Paulding native and a 1976 graduate of Wayne Trace High, Haviland, Ohio, got his bachelor's degree in speech and hearing from Bowling Green State University in 1980 and his master's in school administration from the University of Toledo in 1983.

From 1980 to 1987, Mr. Shugars was a speech and hearing therapist for Fostoria City Schools, then was principal of Grover Hill Elementary until 1994, when he was hired as a special education director for Defiance elementary schools. He had the job until 1997 when he became principal of Hicksville Elementary because he missed working with children, his wife, Carol, said.

A year later, he returned to Defiance schools to become the principal of Anthony Wayne, a job he had held ever since. "He enjoyed being an elementary school principal," his wife said.

Surviving are his wife, Carol, to whom he was married 23 years; son, Matthew; daughter, Mandy; brother, William, and sister, Nancy White.

Visitation will be in the Den Herder Funeral Home, Paulding, after 3 p.m. tomorrow, with a recitation of the Rosary at 8 p.m. Visitation also will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Slade Funeral Home, Payne. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Payne.

The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.

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