HANCOCK - According to two people who worked with him, Marty Stimac had a strong enough love for science and for teaching that even after 10 years, former students would come visit him at Hancock Middle School.
Stimac, 53, died Friday at Marquette General Health System. A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock.
Hancock Middle School science, self and community teacher Heather Bradway said she's known Stimac for 19 years.
"I met him when I started here," she said. "About 10 years ago, we taught a class together."
She taught with Stimac for three years, Bradway said, and she was impressed with his hands-on approach to teaching.
Bradway said Stimac started the outdoor education program at Hancock Middle School, which began by doing water monitoring.
Stimac was enthusiastic about teaching, Bradway said, and was "beloved" by students.
"He was just so enthusiastic," she said. "He could take a complicated idea and relate it to the kids in a fun way."
Bradway said Stimac started a newspaper at the middle school and was involved with the yearbook.
The loss of Stimac will be strongly felt at Hancock Middle School, Bradway said.
"We've lost a very caring, creative person," she said. "Kids knew he was for real. I'm going to miss him a lot."
Monica Healy, Hancock Public Schools superintendent and middle school principal, said she met Stimac in 2003 when she became principal at HMS.
"He was acting as interim principal," she said.
Healy said Stimac was offered the principal job, but he declined.
"He thought about it, but he didn't want to give up that (classroom) connection with the kids," she said.
After taking the principal position, Healy said she would often go to Stimac for advice.
"He was my sounding board for a lot of different things in my principal position, and he was a great one," she said. "He helped me in a lot of ways."
Healy also mentioned Stimac's hands-on approach to teaching, and said he really cared about what he was doing.
"The passion for what he was doing was evident," she said. "It was genuine. He got very excited about what he was teaching."
Students would come back on breaks from college to visit Stimac, Healy said.
He was invited to at least one wedding of a former student.
There was no affectation in Stimac, Healy said, and students knew it.
"Marty was himself," she said.