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Former Elyria educator dies; memorial service Aug. 5

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ELYRIA — A longtime educator who helped to shape Elyria Schools for decades has died.

Wayne McQuillin, who retired from the district in 1984, died June 18 in Oregon City, Ore., where he relocated to be with this family. He was 94.

An Ohio celebration-of-life memorial service will be 11 a.m. Aug. 5 at the Vermillion Institute in Hayesville, Ashland County.

McQuillin held numerous position in Elyria Schools and was known by former colleagues as being “superiorly knowledgeable about all areas of education.”

“In that day and age — I came around in the 1970s — Dr. McQuillin was already a household name around the school district,” said retired Elyria Schools Superintendent Paul Rigda. “Everyone knew Dr. McQuillin because of all the responsibilities he had. He touched so many areas of the district.”

Rigda said McQuillin was a scholarly educator who took his job seriously, right down to the suits and vests he always wore when conducting official school business.

“He had the look of a thinker,” he said. “Everyone respected him and it was always, ‘Yes, Dr. McQuillin.’ That is how I always heard him addressed. No one called him Wayne. He was very old school, very proper.”

McQuillin began his service in the Elyria Schools in 1955 as an assistant principal at Elyria High School. Five years later, he became principal and served in that capacity for six years.

McQuillin’s attention to detail came in handy at that time because a population boom led to rapid enrollment at the high school. The old building was built for 2,400 students, but by the 1963-64 school year, more than 3,000 were crammed in.

As a result, students were split among three shifts during an extended school day.

“Dr. McQuillin manually created this scheduling system long before the time of computerized scheduling, and it was quite a challenge for the staff and students,” according to his obituary. “By the following year, preparations were completed for the ninth-graders to be enrolled at the junior high schools, with Elyria High primarily serving grades 10 through 12.”

McQuillin also had served as the district’s director of government assistance, director of supplemental services, evaluation and research and associate superintendent for pupil personnel and supplemental services.

He was the district’s chief negotiator, working through contracts with teachers and support staff.

Rigda said he learned a lot about managing a school district under McQuillin.

“He looked like he would be the college professor that you wanted to make sure you did very well on your paper before you turned it in,” he said. “People who knew him personally may disagree with me. I knew him professionally. At work, if you had to do something for Dr. McQuillin, it was going to be about business.”

According to his obituary, McQuillin was an avid reader and regular borrower from Elyria Public Library. Because of this, the family has requested any memorial contributions be sent to the library.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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