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Mark St. Clair, onetime schools chief

Mark St. Clair, a longtime teacher, administrator and superintendent with the Pasco County School System, died Tuesday at the Orchard Ridge Nursing Center. He was 90.

"Oh no," said Renee Sedlack when she heard the news Wednesday. She is the former principal of Lacoochee Elementary School, where Mr. St. Clair was head administrator for 20 years. "He was a very nice man. I'm sorry to hear that he passed away," she said.

Mr. St. Clair began working at the Lacoochee school in 1928, following his graduation from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. In 1948, he was elected as Pasco's school superintendent and served two four-year terms. Chester W. Taylor Jr., the man who defeated Mr. St. Clair in 1956, spoke highly of his former opponent.

"I thought the world of him," said Taylor, 71. "He was a wonderful person, and well-respected and liked by everyone."

Mr. St. Clair also worked 10 years in Leesburg as a high school teacher and administrator before retiring from education in 1968. His teaching specialty was English, but he also taught civics, science and mathematics during his 40-year career.

His parents also were teachers. His mother, Zellie, taught in their home state of Georgia and his father, James, taught at Gulf High School in New Port Richey for 20 years before retiring in 1949. The St. Clair Athletic Field at the Schwettman Building on Grand Boulevard is named for Mr. St. Clair's father.

Mr. St. Clair was a lifetime member of First United Methodist Church where he taught adult Bible classes for 35 years. He was married to his first wife, Alice, for 34 years before she died in 1960. They had one son, James H. St. Clair, a retired Air Force colonel who lives in St. Louis.

Mr. St. Clair is survived by his wife of 32 years, Helen; his sister, Mary Lou Knight of New Port Richey; and two grandchildren. Viewing will be Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at North Meadowlawn Funeral Home, 4244 Madison St. in New Port Richey. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 6543 Jefferson St., also in New Port Richey.

_ Information from the Orchard Ridge Nursing Center was used in this report.

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