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Dr. David G. Elsass
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Obituary for Dr. David G. Elsass

Dr. David G. Elsass, emeritus Dean of Education at Bowling Green State University, passed away Saturday June 9, 2018. He was a driving force in creating the Educational Memorabilia Center on campus to preserve the rich teaching history of northwest Ohio as well as BGSU’s origins as a Normal College preparing teachers.

He was born January 28, 1925 in Anna, Ohio to Fred and Margie (Ludwig) Elsass, graduated from Anna High School in 1943 and immediately was drafted into the Army. Upon his separation from the service, he enrolled at Bowling Green State University under the G.I. Bill, graduating summa cum laude in 1949. Along with many other World War II veterans, he lived in one of the several barracks hastily constructed to accommodate the large number of returning G.I. students. He received his master’s degree from BGSU in 1953 and a doctorate from Western Reserve University in 1963.

In July, 1945 during the last three days of his Army furlough from Camp Crowder, MO, he met Mary Jane Lawrence, the newly arrived Anna High School home economics teacher. They were married in 1947. Their children Daniel (Gail Anderson Elsass) lives in Madison, WI and Douglas (Susan) in St. Paul, MN. Their daughter Jane died in 2007 followed by her husband Robert Barman in 2013. There are four grandchildren: Hannah (Andrew) Wroblewski, Kirke David Elsass (Melinda Misener), Greta (Paul) Zuke and William Elsass. His sister Elinor Elsass Trumbone is deceased as is her husband Herbert.

He began his education career as a social studies teacher in the Wauseon Public School System in 1949 and became its high school principal four years later. In 1957 he entered the college teaching ranks as an associate professor of education at Baldwin Wallace College. Two years later he was back in the public school system as principal at Avon Lake High School. While in the Cleveland area, he was able to complete residency requirements for his doctorate from Western Reserve.

He was recruited to the Bowling Green faculty in 1960 as an instructor and a year later began his administrative career as assistant to the Dean of the College of Education. In 1964-65 he was on loan to the Governor’s Office to help with the implementation of the Anti-Poverty Program in the 17 counties of NW Ohio which included the beginning of Head Start in the communities. He was named Dean of the College in 1971, becoming the first BGSU graduate to head the College from which he had earned his degree.

During his decade-long tenure, he guided the College of Education through a period of several program revisions in response to new state standards for teacher education and licensure. As chair of the State University Education Deans in 1974-75 and president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education in 1976-77, he performed a strategic role in the development of those standards, making Bowling Green a leader in the statewide redesign program.

Always interested in the history of education, he was involved in the creation of the Education Memorabilia Center, which honored the early days of schools in northwest Ohio and Bowling Green’s beginnings as a teacher training school. The centerpiece of the collection is the Little Red Schoolhouse, an original one-room school building constructed in 1875 near Norwalk, Ohio and moved to the BGSU campus in 1975.

Active in the community, in 1965 he and Dr. Charles Barrell were the first University faculty members elected to Bowling Green’s City Council. He served six terms representing the second Ward and twice served as co-chair of the city’s Charter Review Commission. The student unrest of the late 60s and 70s was a major issue during his early terms on both Council and as a BGSU Administrator, requiring collaboration to prevent a shutdown of BGSU as happened at Kent State and other state universities in 1970.

He has been an active member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and its Council, the Bowling Green Junto Club, Exchange Club, Bowling Green State University Retirees Association and the Wood County Retired Teachers’ Association. He served for eight years on the Mental Health and Behavioral Connection Boards of Wood County.

Elsass was named the College of Education’s Alum of the Year in 1986. In 1989 the BGSU Trustees named him Professor and Dean Emeritus of Education. He was included as one of “25 Accomplished Graduates of BGSU”. In 2001 the Ohio Department of Education honored him as “A Pioneer in Ohio Education”, recognizing his many contributions to education at BGSU and throughout the state.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday June 16, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 315 S. College Dr. Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. Pastor Rob Spicer will officiate. Immediately following the service a light luncheon will be served at the church. Visitation will be held Saturday morning at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service at 11:00 a.m. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Dunn Funeral Home in Bowling Green.

Memorial contributions may be given in his memory to BGSU Foundation David and Mary Jane Elsass Scholarship Fund for Education students who are planning a career of working with disabled and other special needs students once they graduate, NAMI Wood County 541 W. Wooster St. Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 www.namiwoodcounty.org or St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Endowment Fund www.stmarksbg.org/give

To share an online condolence with the Elsass family please visit www.dunnfuneralhome.com


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Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

16

Jun

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
St. Mark's Lutheran Church

315 South College Drive
Bowling Green, Ohio 43402

Celebration of Life Service

Saturday

16

Jun

11:00 AM
St. Mark's Lutheran Church

315 South College Drive
Bowling Green, Ohio 43402

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