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Published: Sunday, 9/13/2009

Counselor aided students, teachers at Maumee High School

Doris L. Ayling, who had a long career in guidance and counseling at Maumee High School, died Tuesday in her South Toledo home of cardiovascular disease. She was 79.

Ms. Ayling began her career at the high school in 1962, when she was studying for a doctorate at the University of Toledo. In 1978, she became director of guidance, and in that position was a force for good in the lives of students and colleagues, according to Tom Gilsdorf, who has been a guidance counselor at the school for 34 years.

"She was a great person. I can tell you with confidence that there were many students who wouldn't have graduated without her guidance," he said.

To her younger colleagues, she was a mentor and mother figure, Mr. Gilsdorf continued. "She was responsible for me being where I am in my career. When you're a young teacher, you're scared to death. She'd listen to your difficulties and point you in the right direction," he explained.

Ms. Ayling's son, Philip Cummings, said his mother loved education and made a lasting impression on her students. "On occasion, when we were out together, we'd encounter former students. They were just enthused to come up to her and talk," he said.

Ms. Ayling grew up in Toledo's Point Place, the daughter of Mary and Wellesley Ayling. She graduated from Waite High School, where she was clarinetist, a majorette, and a member of the National Honor Society. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio State University, and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Toledo.

At UT, she was acting dean of the college of education during the summer of 1962, and was elected to Phi Kappa Thi and Pi Lambda Theta. She earned her doctorate in 1966 with a dissertation titled A Proposal for a Student Personnel Program for Adult Part-time Students at the University of Toledo.

She remained a Waite supporter to the end of her life, and was active in Waite High Inc., which raises money and awards college scholarships to Waite students.

At Maumee High School, she brought computerization to guidance services, Mr. Gilsdorf said. During her career there, she was recognized by the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio House of Representatives, and the Ohio Career Development Program.

Her marriages to Richard Cummings and Robert Siegel ended in divorce.

She was an avid reader, traveler, and photographer. Her travels took her to all 50 states and 37 countries.

Surviving are her sons, Philip and James Cummings; sister, Jean Nesper, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at noon tomorrow in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where the family will begin receiving friends two hours earlier.

The family requests tributes to Waite High Inc., 3003 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo, Ohio, 43614.



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