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Published: Monday, 7/3/2006

School counselor treated students like his family

William J. Lyons, a recently retired Maumee High School guidance counselor well-known throughout his 35-year career for his compassionate counseling of high school students and seniors going through the college search process, died of complications from cancer Thursday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg. He was 56.

Mr. Lyons, a former soccer and softball coach in Perrysburg's youth athletics, retired in January after spending 29 years as a teacher and counselor at Maumee High.

He started his career as a science and speech classes teacher in Lexington, Ohio, and in Wauseon before taking on the guidance counselor's office at Maumee in 1977.

"He was a genuinely compassionate and caring person who always put others before himself, and that is why he enjoyed being a guidance counselor," his wife, Sue, said.

"He was an excellent father, and that is how he approached his role as a guidance counselor. He treated the students like they were his children," his daughter, Megan, said.

Born in Toledo, Mr. Lyons, a longtime member of St. Rose Parish in Perrysburg, attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help grade school and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1967. He received his bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and then went on to pursue a master's degree in guidance counseling from Kent State University. He also held a specialist's degree in administration from the University of Toledo.

Working with high school students and helping them through the rigors of finding the perfect college were his professional passions, his wife said. He was the adviser of the National Honors Society at Maumee for many years and also coached the school's golf team for many years.

For his service to the community, the Maumee Chamber of Commerce gave Mr. Lyons its Golden Apple award. He was also involved in the Perrysburg High School Vocal Music Booster from 2002 to 2005.

He married the former Sue Riggs on June 21, 1984.

An outdoors and sports enthusiast, he enjoyed biking and spent two summers bicycling through Europe with a group of friends. "England was his favorite European destination," his wife said.

Surviving are his wife, Sue Lyons; daughter, Megan, and brothers, Mike and Tom.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday in the Coyle Funeral Home, where a Scripture service will be at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in St. Rose Church, Perrysburg. The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

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