Paxton Bids Farewell to Long-Time Educator
Frederic Eugene Kingston was born Oct. 2, 1924, southeast of Paxton. During WW II, he volunteered for the U.S. Navy shortly before he graduated from High school. As a medical corpsman, he was assigned to the Second Marine Division with the 11th Fleet in the Pacific theater.
After 23 months of overseas service, he returned to Illinois. While completing a degree in history and education at Southern Illinois University, he met Ina Mae Stallings whom he married on Oct. 12, 1946.
Gene taught for 29 years in the Paxton schools and retired in 1985. He taught math and social studies at the junior high and served as principal. He also taught social studies at the high school. In 1967 he became interested in the special education program and went to ISU to receive training in this field. He started the EMH program at PHS.
In an interview with the PHS Reflector staff at the time of his retirement, Mr. Kingston expressed his feelings about teaching in the Paxton school system: “Although there have been difficult times, I’ve enjoyed it and I’m sure I’ll miss the kids also. Over the years, the Boards of Education, administrations, certified and non-certified staff have treated me and my program extremely well. Paxton is my home town. I have enjoyed living and raising my family here and I feel fortunate to have been located in the Paxton system.” Former Paxton High School Principal Bill Wylie, who worked with Mr. Kingston from 1973 until Mr. Kingston retired in 1985, said, “I can say he was probably the finest special ed. teacher I worked with, and I’m lucky enough to have worked with some good ones, but Gene was outstanding and was considered almost a pioneer in the special ed. field when it was just beginning in the state of Illinois. He was really wonderful with those children.”
Surviving Mr. Kingston are his four children, Mike (Eva) of Philo, Rod (Jane Quinlan) of Champaign, Kathy (Bret Marsolf) of
Champaign, and Susie (Doug Walker) of Paxton. Also surviving are two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Mr. Kingston’s family honored their father’s educational contributions by designating that memorials made in his memory be given to the PBL Education Foundation.