Terrence M. McCready, 32, a high school football standout who became a history teacher and aspired to be a college professor, died Thursday of metastatic melanoma in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
When his condition was diagnosed in August, 2003, he was working toward a master's degree in history at the University of Toledo, his wife, Jennifer, said. He'd planned to pursue a doctorate and a university-level teaching post.
Mr. McCready of West Toledo had skin cancer removed in 1998 and went in for annual checkups afterward. He taught history and government for several years at St. Joseph High School in Fremont and had an adjunct position at Lourdes College, from which he received a bachelor's degree. Before he became ill, while pursuing graduate studies, he was head freshman basketball coach and an assistant varsity coach at St. John's Jesuit High School.
"We've got two small children, so we lived our lives as though cancer wasn't an issue," his wife said. "We went to weddings and funerals and lived life. When you have children, you have to live for them. That was his inspiration."
He played team sports in his youth: baseball in grade school, and basketball, football, and baseball at St. John's, of which he was a graduate. He was a defensive back on the football team, and received three varsity letters. He was named to All-City and All-District teams and was a team captain his senior year.
"He was an all-around team player. He was very talented," said Matt VanKoughnet, a teammate, longtime friend, and brother-in-law.
Academics were not Mr. McCready's strong suits in high school, "but he led by his actions and words," said Josh Mariea, a friend and a football team co-captain. "Terry was a phenomenal leader."
A group of teammates have remained close friends more than a dozen years after graduation.
"He always looked out for the people around him," Mr. Mariea said. "He had the ability to extend himself and take the conversation to a level that was meaningful for all of us."
After high school, Mr. McCready became a passionate student of history and philosophy, his wife said. He was a dedicated liberal and a fan of filmmaker and author Michael Moore.
"He had a huge heart and believed in equality," his wife said.
Mr. McCready read widely in his field, and he liked to engage others in political debate.
"Unless you read as much as he did, you weren't going to win the debate," his wife said.
He liked to be alone with his thoughts by a campfire, and he went white-water rafting in West Virginia, Wyoming, and Montana.
"He was extremely handsome," his wife said. "He had a charming wit about him. He was a very genuine person."
Mr. McCready formerly coached football and basketball at St. Joseph High, Fremont.
He was a member of St. Joan of Arc Church.
His father, Gerald, died in February, also of melanoma.
Surviving are his wife, Jennifer, whom he married Oct. 3, 1997; daughter, Teagan; son, Max; mother, Margaret McCready; sister, Tammy Arndt; and brother, Tim McCready.
The body will be in the Ansberg West Mortuary after 2 p.m. Tuesday. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Gesu Church.
The family suggests tributes to a scholarship fund to be established in his name at St. John's.