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Published: Friday, 5/8/2009

Assistant principal led Waite activities

Phyllis M. Jones, 52, an assistant principal at Waite High School who was a special education teacher about 15 years, died Tuesday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania.

She learned she had breast cancer in October, 2006. She underwent chemotherapy and continued to go to school, if only for an hour or two, until spring break last month.

"She was fighting it. She was a trouper," her sister, Kairltine Sanders, said.

Miss Jones was in her second year as assistant principal for activities at Waite, said Pat Lewinski, a longtime friend and principal leader of the Libbey Humanities Academy Small School. Miss Jones of West Toledo previously was an assistant principal at DeVeaux Middle School and dean of students at Libbey High. Much of her career was at Libbey, where she was a special-education teacher for 15 years, Ms. Lewinski said.

"She's always been very well-respected," Ms. Lewinski said. "Phyllis was a very quiet, mild-mannered lady. She went about her business and did her job very well.

"She did not need to raise her voice to the kids, and it was clear what she wanted them to do," Ms. Lewinski said. "Her most important relationship was with Jesus Christ. It was that faith that guided her, and she didn't need to be forceful."

She inspired her nieces and nephews, said niece Tiffiane Sanders, who recalled playing reading games during summer visits to Aunt Phyllis' and getting any book she wanted from the library. She was in third grade when her aunt gave her a dictionary, thesaurus, a pencil, an eraser, and a notepad, with advice to look up any unfamiliar word.

Ms. Sanders, to support her aunt, took part in October in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure three-day, 60-mile walk in Washington. Miss Jones, to support her niece, came for the closing ceremony. Her niece plans to take part in the Tampa Bay walk this year.

"She will be there with me in spirit," her niece said.

Miss Jones was a graduate of DeVilbiss High School and what was then Findlay College. She received a master's in education administration degree from the University of Toledo.

In recent years, she and Ms. Lewinski traveled to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, and this past Christmas, Hawaii. She went to Libbey and Waite basketball games and, when the teams played each other, she sat on each team's side of the stands for a half.

Surviving are her brother, Frank King, and sister, Kairltine Sanders.

Services will be at noon Saturday at St. Paul AME Zion Church, where the body will be after 11 a.m. Arrangements are by Tate Funeral Services.



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