By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
For the second time in less than three months, a member of the Buckeye Local Schools’ Board of Education has succumbed to illness.
Board president Mark Estock, 53, of North Kings-ville, died Tuesday night after a three-year battle with cancer. On Aug. 17, Jacqueline Hillyer, 70, died, while vacationing in South Africa.
“It’s been a tough year for our board,” said member David Tredente.
Estock, who joined the board eight years ago, assumed the presidency upon Hillyer’s death. At that time, board members were told they had 30 days from the date of Hillyer’s death to find a replacement. Resumes were submitted to the office of Superintendent Joseph Spiccia.
Board members reached for comment Thursday said Estock was a dedicated, compassionate man who cared about education and students.
“I looked up to Mark as a mentor,” Tredente said. “He took me under his wing. He was an extraordinary man, a man who put our people before himself.”
Mary Wisnyai said Estock’s contribution to the board and district cannot be measured. She recalled how Estock, working with the school treasurer, was able to put the district’s cafeteria on a solid footing money-wise.
“Financially, he was a blessing,” Wisnyai said. “He was a blessing all around. He was a champion of education and a champion for Buckeye schools. He was fair and thoughtful and made sure he wouldn’t — he couldn’t — say anything that would hurt the schools or the district. He accomplished so many things.”
Estock did his best to not let his illness interfere with his board responsibilities, Wisnyai said. “He fought it the best he could,” she said.
Wisnyai said she recently made a point to tell Estock “I love you” each time she saw him. “You never know when it will be the last time you see them,” she said tearfully.
The deaths of Estock and Hillyer in such a short time are a blow to the school district, Wisnyai said. “I can’t tell you what these losses mean to Buckeye,” she said.
Estock was the owner and president of Creative Millwork of Ohio, based in Ashtabula.
A Mass of Christian burial will be 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Mount Carmel Church in Our Lady of Peach Parish, 1200 E. 21st St., Ashtabula. The Rev. Raymond Thomas will officiate. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memory Gardens in North Kingsville.