Vickie McKenty, 61, a retired teacher who taught elementary students at Holland and Holloway Schools and was known for wearing a pilgrim costume to give history lessons on early American settlers, died Friday in the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio.
Mrs. McKenty, of West Toledo, had undergone two kidney transplants since 2002, most recently a year ago, said her niece, Stacie Carver.
Her entire teaching career - nearly 33 years - was spent in Springfield Schools, where she began as a student teacher in the mid 1970s while attending the University of Toledo.
She taught in the school system as a substitute teacher after graduation, and became a full-time instructor the following year at Holland Elementary. She later taught at Holloway Elementary in the early 1990s.
Teri Schultz, who taught with Mrs. McKenty at both schools, said she was dedicated to her students, the school, and other teachers.
"She would go above and beyond. She loved her job. She loved those children and they loved her," Mrs. Schultz said.
She said parents requested that their sons and daughters be put in her classrooms.
"She had a heart of gold. She would do anything for the children, her colleagues, and friends," she said.
Carol Butz, a retired Springfield Schools teacher, said Mrs. McKenty stayed after school for hours to prepare for the next day and spent part of her summer in the building before the school year began and after the last day.
Miss Carver said that when her aunt underwent her first kidney transplant in 2002 the first thing she asked about was the results of her class scores on standarized testing. She said Mrs. McKenty looked upon the students as though they were her own kids.
"She never had children of her own so she and the students ended up being extremely close," she said.
Mrs. McKenty dressed in a pilgrim attire as part of a classroom lesson in early American history.
"She loved American history," Mrs. Schultz said. "She would tell the children what it was like in 1621."
Mrs. McKenty, who had a master's degree in education from UT, retired in 2009.
She was born Feb. 16, 1952 to George and Carol Carver. She graduated in 1970 from Ida High School.
She married Robert McKenty on July 10, 1998.
Surviving are her husband, Robert McKenty; sisters, Jackie Wolfe and Sonie Carver, and brother, Rich Carver.
Visitation will be from noon to 9 p.m. Friday in the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave.
Services will be 10 a.m. Saturday in Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 4030 Douglas Rd., Toledo.
Contributions are suggested to the church or YNOTT Foundation for youths in need of organ transplants.
- Mark Reiter