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Longtime Enfield Superintendent of Schools Dr. Louis Mager Dies

Dr. Mager served the town of Enfield for 25 years, including 20 as superintendent.

Dr. Louis Mager, whose four-decade career in education included a 20-year stint as Enfield superintendent of schools, passed away Sunday, Feb. 3 at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. He was 83.

The 1947 graduate of Hale-Ray High School began teaching in 1955, including a four-year term as teacher and coach at East Hampton High School. He spent four years as guidance director at Coventry High School and two years as principal at Bacon Academy before moving to Enfield in 1967 as assistant superintendent of schools.

In 1972, Mager was promoted to superintendent, and served two decades in that post before retiring in 1992. Upon retirement, he filled in as interim superintendent in more than a half-dozen towns, including Canton and Suffield.

During his tenure in Enfield, he presided over a school system that changed drastically, including the closure of Kosciuszko Junior High School and four other schools.

"He was the consummate educator," longtime assistant superintendent Tony Torre said. "He understood the importance of public schools in relation to our democratic process. Lou will be remembered as a process-oriented, intellectual leader."

Board of Education Chairman Tim Neville was hired by Mager as a teacher in 1973.

"Lou was quite a guy, and he thoroughly enjoyed what he did," Neville said. "He was a mentor to me, and I learned a lot from him. He had total commitment to public education. It was all about the kids, and he stood up when it counted."

Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin was president of the Fermi High School Class of 1983, and served as Fermi's student representative on the Board of Education under Mager's guidance.

"I remember him always encouraging me to be involved in discussions with the board," Kaupin said. "He always fought for what he felt the school system needed, and was not shy about expressing his feelings about it."

Longtime teacher and state representative Bill Kiner also recalled how hard Mager worked to ensure the best possible education for Enfield's children.

"He used all of his skills to get the dollars that his kids needed to obtain the best education possible," Kiner wrote in a forthcoming "Kiner's Korner" column. "Dr. Mager had such a wonderful way with people. He would disarm his severest critics with a little bit of wit, a big smile, and a hearty laugh. He was always able to get what he wanted and what his kids needed." (Editor's note: the complete Kiner's Korner piece will be published Wednesday on Enfield Patch.)

Mager received the "Golden Shield Award for Courage Under Fire" from the Connecticut Association of School Administration in 1986, and the "Distinguished Service Award" from the New England Association of School Superintendents in 1992.

He is survived by his wife, Rita (Kaufman) Mager, four children and nine grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Cemetery, Route 151, Moodus. A memorial period will be observed Thursday, Feb. 7  from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Quail Hollow Club House, 1 OakView Place, Vernon.

james white iv February 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Lou was a funny guy. He would go jogging by our bus stop and ask "how far to the Somers town line". We would all laugh because he lived around the corner. He was a good guy and neighbor.
B A Dragon February 06, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Lou was a great negotiator and a dedicated educator. I may have been part of the reason he got the courage under fire award back in the days when I was involved in local politics, as I was a very harsh critic of the Board of Education. Whenever we had direct dealings with Lou we came away with a feeling that we were all interested in the same results, whether or not our paths to those goals were the same. RIP Dr. Mager.
Kathleen Barmak February 09, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Lou Mager was a gentle man with a big heart. He made sure the needs of all students were the first priority. I will always be grateful for the heartfelt professionalism and kindness he demonstrated in our time of greatest need with our son who was diagnosed with a depilating brain tumor at the age of thirteen. Lou made sure that Kevin continued in school despite many difficulties and made sure that his needs were met every step of the way. His efforts were tireless and heartfelt, much of which we became aware of after Kevin's death. He quietly gave Kevin the opportunity for normalcy for as long as Kevin could maintain it. Lou Mager had a deep respect for humanity, the human condition, which was reflected in his actions, his attitudes and his ability to make everyone he met feel like he or she mattered. The world is better because Lou Mager lived in it. His influence and his heart has enriched many lives and taught others how to care.
Shelly (Johnson) Turgeon February 12, 2013 at 08:10 AM
Mr. Mager was an inspiration to me from the day I was born. His daughters babysat me. And, I even borrowed one of his daughters name as my own nickname (which has stuck for my entire life). I last saw Mr. Mager when I was visiting Enfield from CA and he was visiting Mrs. F in the hospital at the same time my mother-in-law was recovering from a stroke. It was right after my dad has passed and prior to my mom. He had a few funny stories to share with me about my dad. And, some lovely stories of my mom. I will always remember m high school graduation picture with him as I was so proud to show him I had made high honors. Mr. Mager, you left a great legacy, and a wonderful family! Love to all, Shelly (Johnson) Turgeon
Thomas Ouellette February 16, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Dr Mager was a role model for me as an educator. His emphasis was always on the students and the teachers. There were times when every problem in our society was the fault of teachers. Dr Mager was our cheerleader. He would remind us that teaching was not a popularity contest and to stay focused on our students. Because of his support I would return to the classroom motivated and willing to work even harder. Tom Ouellette , Enfield teacher, 1967-2002

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