Ex-Teacher a 'Hero' to Kids, Colleagues Former Lake Park Drama Instructor, Union Leader Dies at 56

By Sneller, Beth | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Ex-Teacher a 'Hero' to Kids, Colleagues Former Lake Park Drama Instructor, Union Leader Dies at 56


Sneller, Beth, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Beth Sneller Daily Herald Staff Writer

Though Michael Dice was the driving force behind Lake Park High School's drama department for 30 years, friends and associates say his biggest influence was in the teachers union, where he negotiated the longest contract the school has ever seen.

Dice died after suffering a heart attack Saturday while on his way to perform in a professional production in Chicago. He was 56.

Family members said the Bartlett man never regretted anything he did.

"He always had a positive outlook and lived life to the fullest," said his daughter, Sara Dice. "He was our hero."

Dice retired from teaching in the spring of 2001 after serving for nearly two decades as president of the Lake Park Education Association. He was an instrumental part of the group of teachers who organized the union.

Reeling from a teachers strike in 1989, Dice and other union leaders negotiated a six-year contract in 1993 that would later roll over several times.

"He's the man behind it all," union President Andy Livingston said. "It was his wisdom and his genius that got us where we are."

An actor at heart, Dice spent three decades teaching drama to young people. He built up Lake Park's theater department bit by bit, fellow teachers said, and by the time he retired, the high school was producing eight plays a year.

He had a knack for teaching young people what acting was all about and making them feel important, fellow Lake Park drama teacher and friend Larry Studt said. …

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