LORAIN — A beloved Lorain science teacher who died after a sudden illness is being mourned as the kind of teacher kids sought for advice years after graduation.
David Durdak, who teaches math at Lorain High School, said he met Stephen Dury roughly five years ago when he transferred to Southview High School from Longfellow Middle School. Durdak said he was immediately drawn to Dury, 44, and the two of them became good friends.
On Thursday afternoon, Durdak was still emotional when talking about Dury, who died early Wednesday morning at EMH Medical Center in Elyria. Dury, a 22-year veteran teacher of Lorain Schools, was admitted to the intensive care unit at the hospital Tuesday.
“It was very sudden and tragic. I don’t know what to say. I never thought this would happen,” Durdak said.
A moment of silence was held for Dury at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting. Interim Superintendent Ed Branham said Dury died from an infection but had no details on what caused it.
Dury’s friend, Mike Moos, said he spent every day of the week with Dury — he would show up at his Lorain home at 3 p.m. with snacks for his dog and would leave behind an empty can of beer when he left — and there was no indication that his death was imminent.
“He was a perfectly healthy guy on Sunday — so healthy he could have ripped a stump out of the ground,” he said. “I took him Tuesday morning to his doctor’s appointment, and he never came back.”
Durdak said he was there when family and friends heard the devastating news.
“We drifted out of the hospital like lost souls,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do, so we did what we did best. We went to Steve’s house.”
The first person showed up shortly after 6 a.m., and by 10 a.m. nearly a dozen people had gathered at Dury’s home in Amherst, Durdak said.
“One by one, we all started showing up,” he said. “The wives were just talking and saying ‘What are we going to do now?’ Whenever anything went wrong — be it plumbing or electrical — everyone would say, ‘What would Steve do?’ or ‘Should we just call Steve?’ ”
Durdak described his friend as the ultimate gentleman. He was kind and helpful to those who needed it. He was intuitively intelligent as well as very educated.
Dury attended The Ohio State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education, according to his obituary. Dury later earned a master’s degree in education from Ashland University.
Dury drove a motorcycle when the weather permitted and an old 1979 Ford F-250 pickup when it didn’t. Dury was very passionate about his job, said Durdak’s wife, Lee Anne.
“You wouldn’t look at him and say. ‘I bet that guy is a teacher,’ but he loved those kids,” she said. “He could relate to the kids at their level.”
“He kept in touch with students over the years, and it was not unusual for a student to come to his home with car problems and for Steve to walk them through repairs,” added Durdak.
Lorain High School Principal Diane Conibear said Dury most recently taught physical science to freshmen students. He was a very popular teacher, she said.
“The kids really responded well to his approach and his personality,” she said. “He was very hands-on with the kids and just a wonderful, compassionate guy.”
Conibear said fellow teachers often turned to Dury.
“Steve was the kind of person who was willing to do whatever needed to be done,” she said.
Conibear said the staff of Lorain High will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner over the next couple of days for Dury’s family, and grief counselors also will be available for students who need to talk.
Conibear said the Lorain High staff is hoping to start a scholarship fund for Dury’s son, Stephen Dury III, who will be a freshman at Marion L. Steele High School in Amherst in the fall. A memorial fund under the name of Stephen Dury already has been established at the Lorain Schools Credit Union.
Visiting hours will be 2 to 8 p.m. today at Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway, Lorain. A Parastas service will be 7 p.m. and Panachida services will be 9 a.m. Saturday in the funeral chapel, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. at St. Nicholas Byzantine Rite Catholic Church, 2711 W. 40th St., Lorain.
Reporter Evan Goodenow contributed to this story. Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.