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The lives she touched


Teacher says good-bye after 42 years of service

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Marjorie Reay helps Eliza Buchanan and Ben Burk with their school workMarjorie Reay has spent a lifetime instructing elementary school students.

Reay currently is the most senior teacher in the Lake Oswego School District and, after 42 years, will be just four years shy of the district record when she retires this year.

More than four decades is long enough to have touched hundreds of families in the community, and Reay will be honored for all she has given during a public reception today at Hallinan Elementary School.

Reay now handles a combined third- and fourth-grade class at Hallinan. She also worked at Lakewood and Palisades elementary schools before they closed.

The dark-haired woman with the bright smile said she loves teaching elementary students for their zest for learning and joyful nature.

“They walk in and give you a hug in the morning,” she said. “You can’t get better than that.”

Favorite memories include putting on plays with the children and helping them check out their first chapter book. She said visits from former students have helped keep her in the teacher’s chair.

“I’ve had students come back after graduating college and say, ‘Thank you for teaching me to read,’” said Reay, a Lake Oswego resident of 20 years..by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Fourth-grader Eli Waehrer said his teacher, Marjorie Reay, is funny:
'She likes to make up words like ‘caddywhompus.' The other day I was at the bus stop, and she said ‘toodles.''

Hallinan Principal Sara Deboy said Reay “loves her kids,” “makes me laugh every day” and “is bigger than life.”

Adding an element of fun and holding high standards are among Reay’s strengths, Deboy said.

“I think over the years, she’s learned how much of an impact she can make,” Deboy said.

Reay’s made an impression on fourth-grader Kobe Kruse.

“She doesn’t really accept not-that-good work,” Kobe said. “She expects you to do the best you are able to do.

“She doesn’t just give you the answer. She tells you where to look it up: ‘Look it up in the dictionary.’”

Fourth-grader Eli Waehrer said Reay is also funny.

“She likes to make up words like ‘caddywhompus,’” Eli said. “The other day I was at the bus stop, and she said, ‘Toodles.’”

These whacky words are slang, the first one meaning “crooked” or “diagonal” and the second one meaning “goodbye.”

Friends of Reay’s told her she’d feel it in her bones when it was time to say farewell to her professional life, and that’s just what happened a couple of months ago.

She’s looking forward to gardening, reading, traveling and “not having to set an alarm.”

The teacher who weathered the alarm clock the longest was Ricky Korach, who served the district for 46 years. She is the wife of Bill Korach, the longest-serving superintendent in the district: 27 years.

District Human Resources Director Mary Kaer said local teachers have a habit of sticking around, although most of them cannot claim to have a tenure even approaching Reay’s or Ricky Korach’s.

“We have many other teachers who retired with 30-plus years,” Kaer said.