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Published: Sunday, 1/10/2010

Teacher lived to 103, led one-room school

TEMPERANCE - Marie Sexton, a retired public and parochial school teacher who belonged to Bedford Township's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, died Wednesday in Hickory Ridge of Temperance nursing home.

She was 103.

The precise cause of death was unknown, her son Daniel Sexton said. She had moved into the nursing home a couple of weeks earlier after suffering a stroke.

Before that, she lived with him and his family in Temperance and wintered with other children of hers in Texas and California.

She was very active for a centenarian, her son said. At 100, she traveled to California by herself.

Mrs. Sexton graduated from Bowling Green Normal College, now Bowling Green State University, in 1928 with a degree in education.

Her first job was teaching in a one-room school in Leipsic, Ohio, near where she was born and grew up.

She then moved to the Toledo area and taught elementary school in Adams Township, which would be annexed by Toledo in 1964.

Mrs. Sexton left teaching in 1936, when she married Stanley Sexton. The couple had six children.

In 1956, Mrs. Sexton returned to elementary education and took a teaching job at Regina Coeli Catholic School. She also was a charter member of Regina Coeli Parish.

She retired from teaching in 1966.

She and her husband had moved to Lambertville in 1957, and the two became active in the senior volunteer program, known as RSVP.

Among other things, they offered assistance in preparing income tax returns at the Bedford Senior Center.

Mrs. Sexton also remained active at Regina Coeli, where she served as president of the Altar and Rosary Society.

She was born on a farm near Leipsic, the oldest of Gertha and Mark Smith's four children. She graduated from Leipsic High School.

Mr. Sexton said his mother always placed a high priority on education. "All six of her kids had college degrees," he said. "She preached to all of us that she wanted us to be as educated as possible."

Her husband died in 1988.

Surviving are daughters, Mary Jo Becker and Elizabeth Helms; sons, Daniel, Thomas, and Richard; 24 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Regina Coeli Catholic Church.

The body will be at the Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, from 2 to 8 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 6.

The family requests tributes to the Regina Coeli Education Fund or Erie West Hospice.



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