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Published: Friday, 10/26/2007

Educator devoted himself to students

Cecil M. Kiker, 78, of Sylvania, a former principal of several Toledo Public Schools and an educator for more than 30 years, died Wednesday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Toledo.

Family members said he suffered a severe stroke a few days earlier, but they were unsure what caused his death.

Mr. Kiker began his career in 1958 as a social studies teacher at Scott High. He then was a counselor and assistant principal at Woodward High School.

He was the principal of Jones Junior High from 1968 to 1974 and principal of Rogers High School for the next four years.

Mr. Kiker was appointed executive director of instructional support services at Toledo Public Schools in 1981 and became executive director of district pupil personnel services in 1983. He left the district that same year to take a job as an assistant superintendent with the Dearborn Heights, Mich., District 7 Schools. He retired in 1992.

His son Jeff said his father worked hard to ensure every student received the same level of education. Mr. Kiker also strived for equality in education, especially for minority students, those with disabilities, and underprivileged children.

"He always put the kids first," his son said. "He did whatever he needed to do to make sure everybody in the city got the same education."

Though Mr. Kiker taught hundreds of students during his 34 years in education, his wife, Lydia, said he remembered students many years later. "He was very involved with the kids," she said. "He loved them all."

Another son, Steve, said former students often would stop by the house to visit. He said it was evident his father had a significant impact on many people's lives.

"His life was, without question, all about kids," Steve Kiker said.

Mr. Kiker received his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of Toledo. He was a member of Phi Delta Kappa fraternity.

He was a president of the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel and was a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

He also was a member of the board of directors of the Toledo Society of the Handicapped, an advisory board member for Employment of the Handicapped, and a member of the Minority Youth Advisory Council of the Lucas County Mental Health Board.

Mr. Kiker was a member of the Northwest Ohio Special Education Regional Recourse Center Governing Board and of

the Ohio Department of Education State In-service Advisory CoHe was very handy with tools and always willing to help neighbors fix things. "If something needed fixed, he fixed it," Steve said.

Mr. Kiker and his wife met while they were in the U.S. Air Force and were married 52 years. "He was a wonderful husband," she said. "We had a great life."

Surviving are his wife, Lydia; sons, Russell, Steve, and Jeff, and 11 grandchildren.

Services were private. Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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