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Published: Wednesday, 2/29/2012

Mary Dickey Wise, 1916-2012: Teacher instructed disabled in life skills

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Mary Dickey Wise, 95, who taught practical skills to students with developmental disabilities, died Sunday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

She was in declining health the last month, her husband, Glenn, said.

Mrs. Wise, of Sylvania, retired in 1985 after nearly 15 years at Jay J. Shuer School in Oregon, operated by the then-Lucas County Board of Mental Retardation.

Her home economics classes included lessons in such everyday tasks as making a bed. Students who learned to sew and knit often got Girl Scout or 4-H credit for their completed projects, a 1973 article in The Blade noted. She staged regular fashion shows at Shuer, as she had at the former Tracy School for Retarded Children.

"Those girls would come down wearing a scarf or hat and gloves [they made]," her husband said. "They paraded like a Hollywood movie star."

She looked forward to every school day: "She didn't get unhappy or mean. She was a nice teacher," her husband said.

Born in Lima, Ohio, to Margaret and Coe H. Dickey, she was a 1934 graduate of DeVilbiss High School in Toledo and a 1938 graduate of the then-Wittenberg College, where she met her husband. She later attended the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

Her first job was at least three: At the former Pemberville High School, she taught home economics, history, and physical education, coached girls basketball, and oversaw the cafeteria. When she and her husband lived for a time in Chicago, she worked in Marshall Field's toy department.

In retirement, she volunteered at Flower Hospital, Sunset House, and Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

Surviving are her husband, Glenn, whom she married Aug. 10, 1941; sons, David and Stephen; brother, Coe H. Dickey, Jr.; three grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

There will be no visitation. Services are to be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Bethany Lutheran Church. Arrangements are by the Foth-Dorfmeyer Mortuary. The family suggests tributes to the church.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.


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