CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – School boards around the Valley are gearing up for a new year. For Campbell City Schools, their board will look a little different heading into the fall after losing a long-time and beloved member. But now, his legacy will be carried on by the woman he loved the most.
Rick Gozur was a part of Campbell City Schools for his entire life. He dedicated himself to the students as a teacher, principal and school board member.
But when he passed away less than one month ago, his wife, Judy Gozur, stepped in to fill his role and finish the job he started with a passion that still lives on.
“If he believed in me to do this, then I owe that to him,” Judy said.
Judy joined the Campbell Board of Education on Aug. 10 in her husband’s place.
“Because I can do it then. If he thinks I can do it, I can do it,” she said.
Rick passed away on July 29 after a tough battle with colon cancer.
“This is the scene, happily ever after, you know, you don’t realize all the things that your journey has before you,” Judy said.
And for this pair, that journey brought heartache, but it also brought love and passion. For Rick, that passion was for Campbell City Schools.
“His main thing was to create a community within the building to where everyone was treated fairly and got along and the atmosphere was positive,” said Rick Gozur, Jr., Rick’s son.
Rick graduated from Campbell Memorial High School in 1970. He then taught social studies for 17 years, served as principal for 19 years and spent the last years of his life on the Campbell Board of Education.
“He passionately, very passionately foresaw this future of learning,” Judy said.
Judy said Rick was passionate about the STEM programs and anticipated a community literacy workforce and cultural center that will open later this year. She knows he is looking down, smiling on the progress it’s made.
“If there’s a way to help us, you help us out, all of us. I know if there’s a way, he will,” Judy said.
Before his death, Rick asked Judy to take his seat on the school board.
“He wanted his wife to have that position so she could carry on and carry his passion for the students and for this community,” said Campbell City Schools Superintendent Matthew Bowen.
Her decision to do it came after many prayers and knowing how much it would mean to him to carry on his love for Campbell City Schools.
“I don’t have what he has. What I share is the passion that he has laid before us,” Judy said.
But she didn’t swear-in that day alone, she had Rick’s hat on her head.
“It was a way of him being with me. It was a way of, physically, a reminder that he is here with me and them,” she said.
Even though Judy says she has big shoes to fill, they are the shoes of the man she loved with all her heart, and it is her honor to continue Rick’s legacy in the community he loved with all of his heart.
“When you look at a child who isn’t being treated properly it breaks your heart because that child, you don’t know what that child has in them and what they could grow to become. And he saw that, and I see that too,” Judy said.
Judy says she is very grateful to have been welcomed onto the school board with open arms and promises she will do her very best to continue what her husband started.