Richard Kozbial, resident of The Fountains at Bronson Place, Kalamazoo, Michigan, formerly of Toledo, Ohio and Eau Clare, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully at The Fountains on April 9, 2019 at the age of 85. He was the son of Philip and Bernice (Durka) Kozbial.
He attended Anna Pickett School, Robinson Junior High and graduated from Edward Drummond Libbey High School in 1951. He continued his education at the University of Toledo, receiving both bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education with minors in social studies and language arts. He received additional hours in gifted education.
His 31-year career as a 6th grade teacher began at Jones Elementary School in Toledo followed by 4 years at Macomb Park School in Warren, Michigan before he returned to Toledo to teach at Edgewater Elementary School and McKinley Elementary School. After he retired from the Toledo Public Schools, he was asked to become a visiting professor at the University of Toledo in the College of Education working with undergraduate and graduate level students. He remained in this position for 12 years.
As a teacher in the Toledo Public Schools, he and several other teachers were instrumental in organizing an Outdoor Education Program. He was one of 15 teachers to inaugurate the Toledo Plan, a method of supervising and evaluating first year teachers. The program has received national recognition. He produced two educational programs for WGTE about famous Americans and organized a 6th grade chorus. The Toledo Chamber of Commerce recognized him as Teacher of the Year in 1967.
He was a member of, and held offices in a variety of organizations related to education: Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Delta Kappa, Toledo Federation of Teachers, Lucas County Retired Teachers, Ohio Retired Teachers Association, and The University of Toledo Alumni Association. He was named a Jennings Scholar by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.
He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and served the church as a boy soprano and baritone soloist in the choir for more than 50 years. He sang with the choir's Canterbury Singers, a group that filled in for vacationing choirs in cathedrals of England. He was elected a member of the vestry and participated actively in the Lay Ministry.
In Toledo, he was a member of the Friends of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, The Toledo Museum of Art, supported the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, sang with the Toledo Choral Society, the Symphony Choral, and The Masterworks Choral. He was a bereavement volunteer at the Hospice of NW Ohio for 15 years and sang at their annual memorial services. He was active in Toledo Sister Cities International and the Association of Two Toledos. Through the Toledo-Poznan Alliance, he organized several Dozynki (fall harvest festivals), and he secured host housing when a group of Polish choristers toured the United States and performed in Toledo. Through the Szeged-Toledo Association he organized an exchange where a group of 15 Toledo Public Schools teachers spent a month teaching English in Szeged, Hungary.
While in college, he worked as a clerk, typist, and translator at the International Institute of Toledo. He later served on the Board of Directors, was active in the Cosmopolitan Club, the International Friendship Club, the International Folk Dancers, and the annual International Folk Fair. He was a life member of the Institute and received the Distinguished Service Award for his service.
In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he was a member of Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, its choir, and an occasional soloist. He was a board member of the Eau Claire Historic Preservation Foundation, a sponsor of the Empty Bowls (a fund raiser for the Feed My People Food Bank), and a member of the YMCA. He chaired the Polish Room at the annual International Folk Fair at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, he read Polish poetry at the annual International Poetry Reading, and was Recording Secretary of the Ager House Association. He supported the Eau Claire Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Forever Young Chorus.
He is survived by his daughters, Ardys Kozbial (Bradley Westbrook) of Beverly, Massachusetts, Beth (Monty) Kozbial Ernst, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, stepgrandsons, Nathan and Nicholas Westbrook and beloved grandson, Theodore (Teddy) Kozbial Ernst, and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his beloved wife, Jane Ardys whom he married at Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts, his grandson, Hugh Kozbial Ernst, his brother, Robert (Delphine) Kozbial, his sisters Stephanie (Robert) Canter and Helen (John) Soboleski.
A celebration of Richard's life will take place on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 2 pm at the The Fountains at Bronson Place, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Donations in memory of Richard Kozbial may go to the Library Legacy Foundation at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library or to the charity of your choice. Donations to the library will be used to purchase children's books and each book purchased will contain a book plate that reads: in memory of Richard and Jane Kozbial. The mailing address is Library Legacy Foundation, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 325 Michigan St., Toledo, Ohio 43604 or online at http://www.toledolibrary.org/llf .
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