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Published: Monday, 4/18/2005

Mom cared for family, taught, founded school

SANDUSKY - Phyllis Leder Aldrich of Sandusky, 74, co-founder of the Kiddie College nursery, died Wednesday in Firelands Regional Medical Center.

The cause of death is not yet known, her husband, John, said. She had been ill several weeks and had been in poor health for a number of years, he said.

Mrs. Aldrich and her late sister, Shirley Albert, both schoolteachers, started Kiddie College nursery in 1965.

"It went pretty well," Mr. Aldrich said.

At the time, nursery schools were not common - not as many mothers worked outside the home - so the sisters had to put a considerable effort into their fledging enterprise.

"She enjoyed it, but it was hard work," her husband said.

At the time, Mrs. Aldrich also was raising two children, which required rising at 5 a.m. to take care of her house duties before heading off to work.

After seven years, the sisters sold their business. It remains open today and is operated by St. Stephen's Church.

Mrs. Aldrich remained just as busy, giving birth to her third child - a daughter - at age 42.

She was born in Sandusky, the daughter of Leslie and Florence Leder, and met her future husband in the seventh grade.

"I knew I was going to marry her then, but she didn't know it," Mr. Aldrich said.

The Aldriches graduated from Sandusky High School and Ohio State University, where they majored in education. They married in 1951.

Mrs. Aldrich began her teaching career at Osborne Elementary School in Sandusky, where she taught first grade for two years. She then moved to Columbus, where her husband resumed his education after leaving the U.S. Army. There, she worked as a substitute teacher. After spending a year in the Mentor, Ohio, school system, the Aldriches returned to Sandusky, where Mr. Aldrich worked as a school music teacher.

Mrs. Aldrich spent the next years, before she opened her business, raising her children.

"She was unbelievable. She just did everything she could for the kids - and me too," Mr. Aldrich said.

As a teacher, Mrs. Aldrich was a success, too.

"She was excellent," Mr. Aldrich said. "She was very involved and did everything right, teaching what she was supposed to teach."

Mrs. Aldrich was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where she was secretary of the church's relief society. She and her husband traveled frequently to Ohio State football games to watch their youngest daughter, Judith, play in the marching band.

"Our hobby was following our kids around, whatever they were doing," Mr. Aldrich said.

The Aldriches wintered in Lake Wales, Fla., from 1973-82.

In 1988, Mrs Aldrich had a liver transplant. She remained in poor health in her later years.

"She never snapped back," her husband said.

Mrs. Aldrich looked forward to visits from her three children and five grandchildren.

"She loved her grandchildren," Mr. Aldrich said.

Surviving are her husband, John; son, Thomas; daughters, Rebecca Maxwell and Judith Arlint, and five grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Burial services will be private.

The family asks that tributes be to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation or to a charity of the donor's choice.

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