MINERAL RIDGE - Weathersfield Schools officials are mourning the loss of a man referred to as a pillar of the community.
William Rummell, a former superintendent of Weathersfield Schools, passed away Tuesday morning at his home. He was 81.
"He was one of the greatest human beings I've ever had the pleasure of meeting," current Superintendent Damon Dohar said. "When you say the words Mineral Ridge, it's synonymous with Bill Rummell. He really was an outstanding person.''
Rummell was employed by the Weathersfield School District for 35 years, holding the position of superintendent for 22 years before his retirement in 1988, Dohar said.
Rummell also was a graduate of Mineral Ridge High School, serving as a math teacher and principal before rising to the rank of superintendent. Dohar said he was also an outstanding athlete in his day, and took time even after his retirement to attend every sporting event, fundraiser and school function.
"He was always going out to practices and watching the kids, talking to the kids. He cared about everybody, was willing to help everybody," Weathersfield Board of Education member Bruce Bacak said. "He was a man dedicated to the community of Mineral Ridge, to the school, and to all the students he's seen through the halls."
Bacak, who has known Rummell his whole life, said he was always available to answer any questions anyone might have, and recalled Rummell's efforts to renovate the baseball fields and stadium in 1969.
"I was a little boy unloading the sod off of the truck. He organized all kinds of work to be done out of his love for the community," he said.
"He built the high school almost by his own two hands," said Dohar.
Even though he only knew him for four years, Dohar said Rummell was a great friend and mentor to him during that time.
"He spent a lot of time just coming in to talk to me. He was always listening to me, he always would have a good thing to say. He was a very confident person and a very positive person. He was a big supporter of the school system. He really meant a lot to me," he said.
Former Girard Schools Superintendent Wendel Lauth recalled working with Rummell in the late 1950s and early 1960s when they served together as officers on what was then called the Trumbull Education Association.
"I always liked working with him. To me, he was a real professional educator," he said.
A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church of Mineral Ridge.
Calling hours will be 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Mineral Ridge High School and one hour prior to the service Saturday at the church.
Arrangements are being handled by Lane Family Funeral Homes Mineral Ridge Chapel.