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Educator Boyd Michael remembered

February 03, 2000|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Friends and family members of Boyd John Michael Jr., a retired teacher who served on the Washington County Board of Education, remembered him Thursday as an earnest, hard-working man of integrity.

Michael, who died Tuesday at the age of 70, was a lifelong county resident who worked as a teacher and principal before serving one term on the School Board. He was also well-known as a Christmas tree farmer.

He sold hundreds of holiday trees over the years to residents, a job that gave him great joy, according to his son, Boyd Michael III. "He just really loved making people happy with the trees," he said.

The younger Michael, a former principal who is the School Board's director of secondary education, said his father was a good role model. "He taught us to work hard and do our very best," he said.

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"He taught us to leave things in better shape than we found them," a lesson his son said carried from childhood to adulthood.

"He was strict in a good way. You did what he expected you to do, and he had high expectations of people," he said. Michael remembered his father as an honest gentleman and a moral Christian.

"I feel like I've lost not only my dad but my best friend," he said.

John Hall, the School Board's acting guidance supervisor, went to Towson University with the elder Michael. They later worked together at North Hagerstown High School, where Michael taught for nine years.

"He was one of the hardest-working men I've ever known," said Hall. "He had a work ethic you wouldn't believe. He was just a good person."

School Board member B. Marie Byers served with Michael after the 1988 election. "He was an excellent board member. He did all his homework," she said. "He truly cared for the teachers and students in the system. He was great."

As a child, Michael went to a one-room schoolhouse in Big Pool. In the seventh grade, he became upset when he learned students were being moved to Clear Spring High, from which he later graduated.

He visited then-Schools Superintendent Benjamin C. Willis and persuaded him to put the move off for a year. "Throughout my life, I've been a do-it-yourself kind of person," Michael said in 1988 as he recounted that story.

Michael received a bachelor's degree in education from Towson and a master's degree in administration and supervision from the University of Maryland.

He taught math, science and social studies at North Hagerstown High School. He became vice principal at Boonsboro Middle School and taught while he held the position for seven years. He then served as the school's principal for 10 years and retired in 1983.

He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter, six grandchildren and six siblings.

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