Russell W. Scott, 79, of Toledo, a longtime teacher at Clay High School in Oregon, died of congestive heart failure Sunday in the Toledo Hospital.
He began his career as a health and science teacher at Clay in 1952 after graduating from the University of Dayton with a bachelor's degree in education, his wife, Mary, said.
Mr. Scott began taking classes at the University of Toledo for his master's degree in education, which he earned in 1958.
Mrs. Scott said her husband genuinely wanted his students to succeed.
"If kids didn't get to school, he would go looking for them and bring them to school," she said.
Mr. Scott also taught in the school's Occupational Work Experience program, which is a vocational program, his wife said.
Mr. Scott enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and served as a small-arms repairman while stationed in Korea. He got out of the Army about 18 months later and attended college after qualifying for the GI Bill, Mrs. Scott said.
Mr. Scott was elected vice president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers in 1960 and again eight years later.
He also served as the president of the Oregon Federation of Teachers, Mrs. Scott said.
She said her husband advocated for teachers' rights, including better salaries and benefits.
After his retirement in 1985, he worked for seven years in the Area Office on Aging's 55-Plus Program and helped seniors find jobs, his wife said.
He was a referee for the Ohio Basketball Officials Association for several years, Mrs. Scott said.
He coached basketball at Clay and for the Catholic Youth Organization and coached baseball for Toledo City Pee Wee and Colt leagues, Mrs. Scott said.
"It was something he loved to do," she said.
Mr. Scott was a longtime member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Toledo, where he served as president of the Holy Name Society and the parish's school board.
Her husband enjoyed golfing and would sometimes play four times a week, Ms. Scott said.
In his retirement, Mr. Scott dressed up as Clifford the Big Red Dog storybook character to visit preschools, kindergarten classes, and day-care centers, including one in Adrian where he read to the children of migrant workers, Mrs. Scott said. "They would pet him like he was a regular dog and wrap their arms around his leg and pull his tail."
Surviving are his wife, Mary Scott; sons, Terry and Dan; daughters, Pam Ulrich, Kathy Condon, and Mary-Pat Vetter, and 16 grandchildren.
Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Boyer-VanWormer-Scott Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine of Siena Church.
The family suggests tributes to St. Catherine of Siena parish, Central Catholic High School, St. John's Jesuit High School, or St. Ursula Academy.