Lima lost one of its great citizens on Dec. 31 with the death of Jack L. Saine, 82. He spent most of his life in education with the Lima City School system, but the lessons he taught so many of us went far beyond what was learned from books.
Saine genuinely believed in the goodness of people, be they white or black, male or female, rich or poor. The big smile that worked across his face as he watched the achievements of others was infectious.
People learned from him by being around him. He showed us how to be a good citizen, why you need to have faith in others, and the importance of teamwork. It was second nature for him to look for the good side of a person.
It was fitting that when Saine was inducted into the Lima City Schools Distinguished Hall of Fame in 2002, the group he entered with included Nobel Prize winning physicist William Alfred Fowler, comedian Phyllis Diller and jazz great Joe Henderson — people who achieved success in such diverse ways. Saine was always a believer that people had their own unique gifts to share.
Saine retired from the Lima School System in 1990 but never quit working. He became a tireless supporter of the Lima community and city school system, sitting on numerous advisory boards. At age 79, he worked on yet another project for the renovation of Lima Stadium, serving as co-chair of the fund-raising committee.
Schools were always important to the lifelong resident of Lima, as was this community’s heritage.
As a child, Jefferson Elementary School was the center of his life. He learned and played there, and loved to tell how classmates went home each day for lunch and always made it back in time for afternoon classes, even if it meant walking through a blizzard, which he did one day.
He graduated from South High School in 1950 and fondly recalled the great rivalry and Thanksgiving Day football games between the South High School Tigers and the Central High School Dragons. The two schools would eventually merge into Lima Senior in 1955.
He began his teaching career in 1959 at Harrod and taught at Bath Local schools from 1962-1965. However, he always had a soft spot for Lima South schools, and returned to South Junior High in 1965 as a guidance counselor. He would later become an assistant principal and then principal there before moving to the Education Center in 1981 where he served as Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services until his retirement.
He admitted having a heavy heart in 2002 when the South school building was torn down, but true to form, became one of the biggest boosters for the new South Middle School when it was rebuilt two years later.
Jack Saine passed away on New Year’s Eve at Lima Manor Nursing Home. At his side was his loving wife of 52 years, Judy, and daughters Kelli, Laura and Amy.
His family will miss him, as will the Lima community.