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Published: Tuesday, 5/12/2009

Ex-teacher saved boy, 3, from train near Detroit

Eugene Richard "Dick" Sheline, a longtime area teacher who once leaped from a train to save a child's life, died Thursday, on his 84th birthday, in a Fort Myers, Fla., care facility.

He had been battling Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, his son, Michael, said.

Mr. Sheline and his wife, Lola, moved from Toledo to Florida in the early 1990s.

In his 35-year career, Mr. Sheline taught elementary and junior high at schools including Longfellow Elementary and Jones Junior High in Toledo, Eagle Point Elementary in Rossford, and the former Irwin School in Spencer Township.

He spent the most time at Jones and Longfellow, from which he retired in 1985. Although Mr. Sheline taught numerous subjects over the years, "his biggest love in life was teaching music and math," his son said.

Mr. Sheline, whose father taught in Toledo schools, played varsity basketball and tennis at Woodward High, graduating in 1943. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Toledo.

Early on, Mr. Sheline was a railroad brakeman during his summers off from teaching, and received wide acclaim in 1953 after he jumped off a slow-moving train outside Detroit, sprinted ahead of the locomotive, and plucked a 3-year-old boy off the tracks.

Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Lola, daughters, Christine Flynn, Sharon Sheline, Kathleen Hanley, and Beth Metzger, son, Michael, brothers, Raymond, Jr., Harry, and Robert, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be private. The Urbanski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Hospital Foundation or the Alzheimer's Association, Northwest Ohio chapter.

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