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Published: Wednesday, 4/21/2010

Math teacher mixed humor and fairness with instruction

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Phyllis Brewer, 80, a longtime math teacher at Rogers High School who leavened her calculus and algebra classes with humor, died of lung cancer April 14 in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania.

Mrs. Brewer, of South Toledo, retired at age 60. When she began at Rogers about 25 years earlier, the high school was in the former Adams Township. In 1966, township schools were absorbed into the Toledo Public Schools system.

"She knew the subject matter, and she liked the kids," said her husband, Bill, a onetime president of the Adams Township school board, whom she met when they were 10-year-olds at Longfellow School.

She took a common-sense approach to subjects many found daunting.

"She loved teaching math," said her daughter, Jenny, who took her mother's calculus class. "There was humor that went with the seriousness of the subject, and you also learned a great deal about the math."

She believed in manageable homework assignments.

"She told the kids, 'If I've given you an assignment and it's taking you longer than an hour, stop. Don't frustrate yourself. Bring it in and we'll talk about it,'•" her daughter recalled. "If you did your homework, you could do well. There was a fairness about the class."

She was born July 25, 1929, to Wilma and Tyler Dale. She was a 1947 graduate of DeVilbiss High School and a 1951 graduate of the University of Toledo.

She'd taught at Springfield High and McTigue Junior High before she moved to Rogers.

She was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Surviving are her husband, Bill, whom she married June 27, 1951; sons, Bill, Jr., and Tim Brewer; daughter, Jenny Alt; sister, Janis Leichtweis; seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Walter Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to St. Luke's Hospital Foundation; Ebeid Hospice Residence; St. Joan of Arc Church, or the Alzheimer's Association.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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