Longtime Pasco principal dies after battle with cancer

Dade City

Retired principal dies after battle with cancer

Tom Rulison, a teacher who became one of Pasco's longest-serving school administrators, died Tuesday after a two-year battle with melanoma. He was 66.

Mr. Rulison taught in Michigan for seven years before moving to Florida. He held administrator jobs at Gulf, Pasco and Pine View Middle School and was principal at Bayonet Point Middle School for 17 years. He left to be Centennial Middle School's first principal in 2001 and stayed there until his retirement in 2009.

Pat Reedy, who led Pasco High School for 23 years before retiring last year, said Mr. Rulison was his mentor. He recalled watching Mr. Rulison connecting with seventh-graders in simple ways, chatting with them during lunch and engaging them in discussions about sports, one of his passions.

"He'd do anything for anybody,'' Reedy said. He called him a "quality man.''

Kim Rulison said her husband of nearly six years loved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and baseball, particularly the Tampa Bay Rays, and his lifelong team, the Detroit Tigers. The couple traveled after he retired and made regular trips to a lake cabin in New Hampshire.

Just a few weeks ago, she said, they were planning another trip for this summer.

"Family was extremely important to him," Mrs. Rulison said.

Kit Broadbelt, a retired county athletic director, knew this from when they used to travel to recruit new teachers. Mr. Rulison once took an early morning flight home from a trip to make sure he was there for his oldest son's Little League game, he recalled.

Three of Mr. Rulison's adult children are now teachers themselves.

Jim Lane, a retired principal, said he dedicated his doctoral dissertation in part to Mr. Rulison, "(my) mentor, friend, role model, and the finest school leader I have ever known."

. Remembering

Tom Rulison

Tom Rulison is survived by his wife, Kim; children Tommy, Jamie, Kerri, Michael and Nicole; brothers Steve and Mark; and sister Barb.

Hodges Family Funeral Home in Dade City is in charge of arrangements.

Longtime Pasco principal dies after battle with cancer 07/02/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 7:59pm]

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