Phillip E. Runkel, the Michigan superintendent of schools from 1980 to 1987, died June 10 from complications following lung surgery. He was 70.
Mr. Runkel took over as state schools chief during a statewide recession and became a tireless campaigner for local school tax elections. He also worked to put together technical-assistance teams to help academically troubled districts.
He began his career as a business teacher and coach in the Hale, Mich., public schools in 1951. After rising to the rank of middle school principal in the Michigan districts of Bloomingdale, Birmingham, and Utica, he became the superintendent of the Grand Rapids schools in 1969.
Mr. Runkel was the managing director of Everen Securities of Lansing and Chicago at the time of his death.
Vol. 17, Issue 41, Page 4Published in Print: June 24, 1998, as Milestone