Valencia resident Myron Sproul, 99, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, had a 30-year career as an educator in the Santa Clarita Valley and was the first principal of Saugus High School, died peacefully in his home Saturday after fighting various ailments, according to his daughter Rebecca Sproul Sweeney.
“He died peacefully in his bed. He wanted to be at home,” Sweeney said. “He was bedridden just the last month, but the last night he sang a little song, he ate some popcorn, and then he just didn’t wake up the next morning.”
“We had a 24-hour caregiver there. He checked on him about 3 in the morning, and he was still breathing. Then at about 5 in the morning he was not. Very peaceful, and that’s exactly how he wanted it,” she continued.
Born on Sept. 28, 1923, in Grantsville, Utah, a town of about 450 people, Sproul spent his early years in the U.S. Coast Guard as a radioman, on a weather ship smaller than a destroyer escort during World War II.
“There were submarines around us, but we knew they weren’t going to waste a torpedo on us because we weren’t very big,” Sproul said during an interview with The Signal for a feature story in 2019. “I often thought we weren’t fighting the enemy; our enemy was the angry sea.”
In 1954, Sproul moved to the Santa Clarita Valley and went right to work at Hart High School. He was an English teacher there for many years, then a counselor for a few years, then a vice principal.
According to Sweeney, during his employment at Hart High School, her two oldest sisters and her brother went to Hart at the same time. Sproul was also a principal of Bowman High School for one year.
Just a few years later, he applied to be the founding principal at Saugus High School.
Sproul was there every day as the school was built and the project finalized. The school opened with only ninth and 10th grade, so in 1978, the campus had its first graduating class. After nine years, he retired in 1984.
Sweeney described her father’s approach to teaching as gentle, funny, helpful and kind. His love for education and passion for English, American literature to be precise, influenced three of his four children to pursue a career in education.
“You know, I think it was always kind of in my blood. He must have made it seem like a good job because by the time I was in first grade, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Sweeney said.
Reading and golfing were some of his favorite hobbies. After he retired, he moved with his wife Karma Cosslett to Escondido — spent much time golfing and more. He later moved back to the SCV after his wife died.
Eventually, when he couldn’t golf anymore, he would always read, something he loved his whole life.
“Growing up, he read to me every night,” Sweeney said. “What I loved was that he would use voices for the different characters in the books. I remember him reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.”
Sweeney said she would carry the memory of when she graduated — her father, the principal of Saugus High School at the time, handing her diploma. She took it, leaned in and gave her dad a kiss on the cheek; something her father would always talk about.
“The last few years I have spent a lot of time with him since he couldn’t be alone very often, and we would do crossword puzzles together,” Sweeney said. “That’s going to be a very special memory for me.”