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Howard Mabel, 1944-2013: Educator helped find summer jobs for kids

Howard Mabel, an administrator in the Toledo Public Schools who in retirement placed young people in summer jobs, died Tuesday in Toledo Hospital.

He was 68.

The cause of death was not reported, but Mr. Mabel had health problems in recent months, his wife, Cheryl, said.

Until September, he was work experience coordinator of the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. When he found out that a young person he placed in a summer job had parlayed a temporary position into year-round work, “he was delighted,” his wife said. “He was one in a million. You’re not going to find anybody else who gave so much to these kids.”

He earlier ran a youth summer job program for the Private Industry Collaborative.

Mr. Mabel retired in the 1990s from Start High, where his administrative posts included dean of students and assistant principal of student activities and pupil personnel. He also was an assistant football coach and senior class adviser.

“He had tremendous character and saw through the haze and believed that people could succeed and worked at it,” said his brother Ed, who was a physical education teacher and coach.

Mr. Mabel was inducted into the Start Hall of Fame in 2003.

“Wherever we were in Toledo, he was recognized,” his wife said.

In 1965, as a recent University of Toledo graduate, he was hired to teach at the former Parkland Craft School on Lagrange Street. The school was for seventh and eighth grade boys who did not fit in at their district elementary school — for reasons academic, behavioral, or social.

“It was a tough assignment. The first question they asked was, ‘Can you box?’” his wife said. He could, his brother said.

Mr. Mabel taught science, physical education, and remedial courses. In 1972, at age 28, he became Parkland principal.

“He had tremendous leadership skills even at a young age,” his brother said. “He had a strong, strong personality that the kids could identify with. He made you feel good to be around him. He exuded confidence and was a good motivator.”

The school closed in June, 1974.

Mr. Mabel came to UT expecting to play football. He was captain of his Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., High School team. A broken leg ended his UT prospects. He received a bachelor’s degree from UT and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University.

He was born Jan. 22, 1944, in Passaic, N.J., to Hilda and Abraham Mabel. He helped at his parents’ candy store, Mabel’s Corner — which included a cigar counter, newsstand, and complete soda fountain.

“He was a hard worker,” his brother said.

He and his wife, formerly of Sylvania, lived for many years at Manitou Beach on Devils Lake in Michigan.

Surviving are his wife, Cheryl, whom he married April 2, 1966; daughters, Leslie Marx and Shelley Mabel; brother, Edward Mabel, and three grandchildren. Their daughter Hyla died Feb. 23, 1989, at 14.

Graveside services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at New Tifereth Israel Cemetery, Columbus.

The family suggests tributes to the Start High School Hall of Fame scholarship fund; Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus, or Congregation Etz Chayim, Toledo, where he was a member.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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