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Published: Wednesday, 7/5/2006

Professor brought out the best in his students

Richard T. Halstead, an English professor at Terra Community College in Fremont for 30 years, died yesterday in St. Luke's Hospital after a year-long battle with lymphoma. He was 59.

Mr. Halstead, of Perrysburg, had a passion for teaching and also for poetry. During the summer, he conducted poetry workshops, teaching students how to write poetry, his wife, Tricia Halstead, said.

"He liked poetry because the message could be ambiguous and each person could read into it something different," she said. "His students loved that he was teaching them to find their own voice and to write their own poetry."

He had one of his own poems, "The Living End," published in an anthology of poems, Mrs. Halstead said.

While teaching at Terra, Mr. Halstead set high standards for his students and was a "very demanding teacher," his wife said.

"He was able to reach students who didn't have abilities and pull them out of their shells," Mrs. Halstead said. "He was able to really encourage students to do their best."

Kimberly Williams of Helena, Ohio, was one of Mr. Halstead's former students.

Mr. Halstead was her English professor during her four years at the community college, and she said he was an inspiration.

"He showed me the potential I had," she said. "He really awoke the writer inside of me."

Mr. Halstead graduated from Bowling Green State University and Ms. Williams is planning to attend there in the fall. She wants to teach English at the college level, much like Mr. Halstead, she said.

Ms. Williams said Mr. Halstead was destined to be a teacher.

"Nothing excited him more than to see his students actually be diligent about their work," she said. "His individual responses to each student's work was his hallmark. He took time to read each student's paper and give responses that were heartfelt, that just let the student know he cared, and that he was doing his best for you."

Mrs. Halstead and her husband met when they were students at BGSU. They married in 1969.

Mr. Halstead "had a tremendous sense of humor," and that's what made their marriage so good, she said.

"He gave me the gift to be really funny and to have a good sense of humor," Mrs. Halstead said. "I did not have that before I met him."

Surviving is his wife, Tricia.

Visitation begins at 2 p.m. Friday in the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Corpus Christi University Parish, 2955 Dorr St. The family suggests tributes to the Terra Foundation.

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