BOWLING GREEN — John H. Fernbaugh, a retired educator who was an administrator at school districts across Ohio and Michigan, died Friday in his home. He was 71.
His wife, Gina Fernbaugh, said his death was unexpected, and a heart attack is believed to have been the cause.
Mr. Fernbaugh’s career in education spanned nearly 50 years. He was a teacher, coach of football, basketball, and track, principal, athletic director, and superintendent at six school districts in northwest Ohio before retiring in 1998.
He joined the Ohio Association of School Business Officials in Columbus, serving as the association’s executive director until 2005.
After working as development director of the Kidney Foundation in Toledo, he went back into school administration, serving as interim superintendent or superintendent at three school districts in Ohio and principal of Mason Middle School in Erie, Mich.
“People kept calling him. He didn’t apply for any of those jobs. He got called to come help and he would,” Mrs. Fernbaugh said. “He was at a lot of districts.
“He worked a lot of years, but he loved it,” she said.
David Drewyor, superintendent of Mason Consolidated Schools in Erie, said he called on Mr. Fernbaugh for an interim principal position at the district’s middle school in 2009 after getting glowing recommendations from administrators in Wood and Lucas counties.
Mr. Fernbaugh ended up liking the job so much that he signed on for three more years but left before his contract was up to become superintendent of Woodmore Local Schools in 2010.
Under his leadership, a bond issue was approved to build an elementary school. After he stepped down in August, 2012, he was called to Huron City Schools, where he was interim superintendent until July, 2013.
Mr. Fernbaugh was born on Oct. 21, 1942, to Cleone and Paul Fernbaugh in Kenton, Ohio. His family moved to East Toledo, where he graduated in 1960 from Waite High School. He received a bachelor of science degree in 1965 from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University in 1972.
He began his teaching and coaching career in 1965 at Delta High School. He taught and coached at Bowsher and DeVilbiss high schools in Toledo from 1967 to 1976 and continued coaching and teaching in Montpelier Schools in Williams County in 1976. He later became high school principal there.
He was hired as assistant superintendent at Wauseon Schools in 1984 and served as superintendent of Elgin Local Schools from 1991 to 1995 and McComb Schools from 1995 to 1998.
Surviving are his wife, Gina; daughter, Andrea Fernbaugh; son, Paul Fernbaugh; stepsons, Joshua and William Herr; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be in the Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home from 2-4 p.m. June 29, followed by a celebration of life service.
The family suggests tributes to the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.
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