Patrick Joseph Pugh, 64, schoolteacher, water sports enthusiast and instructor

January 28, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Patrick Joseph Pugh, a retired Baltimore County teacher and avid windsurfer, died Tuesday of kidney cancer at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 64 and lived in Joppatowne.

During his 26 years in the Baltimore County school system, he taught at Glenmar, Logan, and Norwood elementary schools, and Golden Ring Middle School.

"Students knew he was as much their friend as he was their teacher," said Rick Bavaria, a friend and former Baltimore County school official who lives in Guilford.

"Students liked him because of his perpetual youthfulness and interest in what was current. He cared about his students, and they knew it," Mr. Bavaria said.

Mr. Pugh stimulated learning in his classes with comic books and yo-yos - two passions he engaged in for many years.

"He would entice his students to complete their assignments with a show of yo-yo tricks at the end of the class," Mr. Bavaria said.

Mr. Pugh's interest in yo-yos was sparked when he was a child growing up in Southwest Baltimore. He visited neighborhood variety stores where yo-yo professionals demonstrated their skills.

During more than 40 years of yo-yo collecting, he assembled an inventory including models that hum, glow in the dark, pulse with strobe lights and resemble a Star Wars space ship.

Mr. Pugh also collected EC Comics, a 1950s pulp publication of horror and mystery stories that often featured ironic endings. "He enlivened his" lessons with stories "from the EC comics books," Mr. Bavaria recalled. "His students knew they would enjoy his class, but that they would be held to very high standards."

Mr. Pugh retired from full-time teaching in 1989 but returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher. He taught through last year. At the end of his career, he was known as the "Yo-yo Man."

Mr. Pugh wrote letters to the editor of The Sun. His last letter recommended that Mayor Martin O'Malley read "The Corner," the nonfiction book "about a year in the life of a Baltimore neighborhood."

He also submitted a 1954 photo of himself to the Sunday Sun Magazine's "Way Back When" feature: "In the '50s we thought the `drape' style of clothing was fabulous. Here I am in 1954 wearing a "Mr. B" (Billy Eckstine) rolled collar shirt and gabardine slacks that were cuffed and draped over my shoes," he wrote in 1994.

In retirement, he began windsurfing and became a member of the Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association. He gave lessons at Gunpowder Falls State Park and windsurfed in the Inner Harbor, along the Potomac River in Washington, off Ocean City, and in Hawaii, Aruba and the Dominican Republic. He also water-skied.

For the past 33 years, he was the primary daily caretaker of his disabled brother, Philip Pugh, who survives him.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Pugh grew up on South Pulaski Street in Southwest Baltimore, and was a 1954 graduate of City College. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from Towson University in 1963, where he played on the varsity lacrosse team, and received his master's degree in education from Loyola College.

From 1954 to 1958, he served in the Air Force in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

He was a member of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County and was the faculty representative for the schools where he taught. He also was a member of the Maryland State Teachers Association and the National Education Association.

In 1973, he married Joan Eustace, a Baltimore County school principal,

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 3 at Babcock Presbyterian Church, 8240 Loch Raven Blvd.

In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by a son, Justin Pugh of Joppatowne.

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