MARILYN KASER, 1935-2013

Teacher inspired others to teach too


Marilyn Kaser, who persuaded her husband to become a teacher and years later returned to college herself to become a teacher, sparking a pedagogic dynasty, died Friday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania, two days before her 78th birthday.

She became ill in October and did not recover after surgery to alleviate a symptom of Crohn’s disease.

Mrs. Kaser of Sylvania retired in 2007. Her entire 33-year career was at McKinley Elementary School in West Toledo, which she attended as a child. Until her illness, Mrs. Kaser volunteered nearly every day in the McKinley fourth-grade classroom of her daughter, Mary. Her son, James, also teaches at McKinley and son Edward, Jr., is principal of Keyser Elementary School. Two grandchildren are teachers.

She taught second grade in Room 205 for most of her tenure.

“Mom had a real positive outlook on children — that they could succeed and learn,” son Edward, Jr., said. “She was a dreamer and idealist.”

For the 1977-78 school year — a time of budget crisis in the Toledo system — Blade reporter Wanda Cook paid frequent visits to Room 205. The result was an occasional series of articles about everyday classroom life for one group of children — a split first-second-grade class — and their teacher.

“Mom wasn’t one who needed accolades,” son Edward, Jr., said. “She wanted to give an accurate picture of what a classroom was like. She wanted the focus to be on her kids.”

Mrs. Kaser’s husband, Edward, retired in 1995 as principal of Riverside Elementary School. His education was in civil engineering, but he didn’t much care for the work.

“My mom talked my dad into being a math teacher,” son Edward, Jr., said. She was a stay-at-home mother. She spent so much time volunteering at McKinley, then two blocks from the family home, that she decided to make a career of teaching. She’d attended Hillsdale College briefly in the 1950s, but continued her education at the University of Toledo. She received a bachelor of education degree in 1974.

She was born Feb. 17, 1935, to Mary Elizabeth and Lewis Henry Barnes, Jr. She was a 1953 graduate of DeVilbiss High School.

Surviving are her husband, Edward Kaser, whom she married June 7, 1958; sons, Edward, Jr., and James; daughter, Mary Pollauf, and six grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. March 2 in McKinley Elementary School. Arrangements are by the Newcomer Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to McKinley’s school library or the West Toledo Lightweight Football League/Whittier Jets.

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