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Published: Friday, 2/15/2008

Educator counseled students at Monroe High School

MONROE - DeLyn L. Wurzel, 81, a guidance counselor who inspired more than a generation of Monroe High School students - and her colleagues - died Sunday in Mercy Memorial Hospital, Monroe, from complications of ischemic bowel disease.

She continued to live independently at her home along Lake Erie in Monroe Charter Township. She was in ill health for three years, but her condition worsened the last month, her daughter, Lynde Woolace, said.

Mrs. Wurzel retired in 1991 after a 32-year career as an educator in the Monroe Public Schools. Much of that was as a guidance counselor at Monroe High School.

Fashions and trends changed, but "she always felt that kids were basically kids, and she never changed her approach," her daughter said.

Brenda Reed, who became a Monroe High guidance counselor, said a teacher could send a student with problems to Mrs. Wurzel "and know that she would handle it in the right way.

"There were no throwaway kids," Mrs. Reed said.

Mrs. Wurzel started as a guidance counselor in 1968 and was part of an experimental program that paired seventh graders with a counselor who was to be theirs through high school.

One seventh grader had a rough home life, Mrs. Reed recalled, and on occasion hadn't slept when he came to school.

"She let him sleep under her desk," Mrs. Reed said. "That's the kind of person she was. She would protect him."

Mrs. Wurzel was an inspiration as Mrs. Reed made the switch from teacher to counselor.

"She always was upbeat and a very caring and sincere person," Mrs. Reed said. "Her students, her peers, her colleagues - everybody loved Dee.

"I saw the kind of job she did, and it always was a positive job. I wanted to do something else in education, but I didn't want to work with kids in a negative way. That's why I went into counseling," Mrs. Reed said.

Mrs. Wurzel was a substitute counselor for several years in retirement at high schools in Monroe County.

She was a graduate of Ypsilanti, Mich., High School. She attended Eastern Michigan University but put her education on hold when she married and had children.

She became a physical education teacher in the Monroe schools in 1959 and went back to Eastern Michigan, from which she received her bachelor of education degree in 1962. She received a master's degree in guidance counseling from Eastern Michigan in 1972.

Mrs. Wurzel enjoyed tending the flower garden around her lakeside home.

She was formerly married to the late Phillip A. Wurzel.

Surviving are her daughter, Lynde Woolace; sons, Dawson and Mark, and four grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 1 to 8 p.m. today in the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe. At Mrs. Wurzel's request, there will be no services. The family suggests tributes to Monroe County Special Olympics in care of Director Doug Allard or to the American Heart Association.



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