Gerald Evans Masters, a retired educator for Washington Local Schools who, along with his wife, operated an estate sale business, died Wednesday in Avow Hospice-Georgeson House in Naples, Fla. He was 75.
Mr. Masters, known as Jerry, was diagnosed last March with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, said his wife, Mary Helen Masters.
The Masterses moved from Washington Township in Wood County to Marco Island, Fla. in 2002. They also had lived in West Toledo and Ottawa Hills.
Mr. Masters began his teaching career about 1963 at Jefferson Junior High, where he taught history to seventh-grade students. He obtained a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Toledo.
Mrs. Masters said her husband was encouraged by a principal to return to college and get an advanced degree. He did just that, attending Eastern Michigan University and obtaining a master’s degree in education in 1970.
With the degree, he was promoted to principal at Lincolnshire Elementary and later held the same position at Meadowvale Elementary.
Mr. Masters and an elementary teacher, the late Ruth Michaelis, successfully lobbied legislators to make Ohio's official insect the ladybug.
The campaign was started by students in Mrs. Michaelis’ class at Lincolnshire and was joined by other districts. The ladybug became Ohio’s official insect in 1975.
Before retiring from Washington Local Schools in 1992, Mr. Masters was publicity and marketing director and director of adult education for the district.
Mr. Masters was born on April 12, 1938, to Herman and Edna Masters. He graduated from DeVilbiss High School.
A gifted vocalist, Mr. Masters began singing in church choirs at an early age. At age 7, he was boy soprano at Trinity Episcopal Church on Adams Street.
Later, he became tenor soloist at St. Michael’s in the Hills Episcopal Church in Ottawa Hills.
It was while he was the tenor soloist at First Congregational Church on Collingwood Boulevard that Mr. Masters met the former Mary Helen Stoltenberg in 1965.
They were engaged Feb. 13, 1966, and married Aug. 6 of that year.
In 1975, the couple started GMasters Sales, which specialized in the liquidation of houses and businesses after Mr. Masters had become knowledgeable on the values of antiques, glassware, and collectibles.
“He was the researcher and brains behind the outfit. I was the laborer and ran the businesses,” Mrs. Masters said. “He had no business sense at all. But he knew what prices to put on things.”
The couple ended the business in 2002 when they moved to Florida.
Surviving are his wife, Mary Helen; daughter, Caroline Masters; son Jeffrey Masters, and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today in United Church of Marco Island. A reception will follow in the church.
The family suggests tributes to Marco Island Historical Society, United Church of Marco Island, First Congregational Church in Toledo, or Avow Hospice.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.