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Senior Lifestyles

Effort underway to honor Coventry teacher’s 100th birthday

2/6/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Former students of Coventry High School teacher Mae Packan are being asked to help celebrate her 100th birthday this spring.
Photo courtesy of Esther Wixon DeTray
COVENTRY — Former students of longtime Coventry High School teacher Mae Packan are being asked to help celebrate her 100th birthday this spring in a couple of different ways.

Former student Esther Wixon DeTray, a Portage Lakes area resident, is asking that those who remember Packan to donate in her honor to the Mae Packan Scholarship Fund administered by the Coventry Local School District.

DeTray added former students can also send cards for Packan’s birthday to the district, and they will be given to Packan, whose 100th birthday is April 16.

According to DeTray, Packan is an Akron native who graduated from South High School in 1931. Her parents, Ralph and Ann Hinman, were teachers.

Packan’s career began at Coventry in 1935. She taught college preparatory American history and political science and retired in 1978 with 43 years of service.

DeTray, who still sees her former teacher around once a month, said Packan was beloved by students and imparted many life lessons in the classroom.

“She taught me to think for myself,” DeTray said.

She noted that many of Packan’s former students would remember Packan’s discussions on “glaring generalities.”

“She taught us to differentiate,” DeTray said. “All people are individuals. Just because something happens once in life doesn’t mean it will happen again.”

She also encouraged students to “interpret and relate,” DeTray said.

“Whatever you are reading or studying and whatever you see, interpret it the way your mind works and relate it to your own life,” DeTray explained.

Packan was married to Akron attorney John Packan. They lived in West Akron. Today, Packan is widowed and lives in the Clinton area.

DeTray said Packan meets with her former students regularly for lunch, dinner or coffee and also stays in touch through the Coventry Alumni Society.

According to Jen Horner, a Coventry High School guidance counselor, the scholarship in Packan’s name was established around 32 years ago. The fund annually awards $200 to a graduating senior who has been outstanding in social studies, she added.

DeTray said she would like to have any donations made to the scholarship fund in honor of Packan’s birthday by March 30 so that Packan can be told the total collected by her birthday.

To contribute to the fund, send a check, payable to Coventry Local Schools/Mae Packan Scholarship Fund, to Coventry Local Schools, 2910 S. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44319, to the attention of the Coventry Alumni Association. Contributors are asked to note on the check it is for the existing Mae Packan Scholarship Fund. Donations are tax deductible.

Birthday cards may be sent to the same address.

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