Daniel J. Algeo, 70, of Havertown, a longtime teacher, coach and mentor at Rosemont School of the Holy Child, died Thursday, March 12, of a stroke at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
A legend at the school, "Mr. A," as he was called, had planned to retire at the end of the 2014-15 school year but last month became ill. As his condition worsened, the school community gathered at Rosemont College's Immaculate Conception Chapel to pray for him.
"It was a wonderful testament to the impact that Mr. Algeo had on the Rosemont School community," said Thomas G. Lengel, Head of School, in a tribute on the school's website.
Mr. Algeo began teaching at Rosemont in 1966 after leaving St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was Rosemont's first full-time lay teacher.
During 49 years - the longest tenure of anyone at the school - Mr. Algeo taught middle school Latin, religion, history, social studies, and geography. He served as the eighth-grade homeroom teacher. In addition, he coached three varsity sports - leading the Falcons to their first Catholic Academy League football championship in 1972 - and was dean of students.
"To his students, Mr. Algeo was considered a father figure who dispensed wisdom freely and who was always interested in them as people, first and foremost," said Lengel. Kind and gentle, Mr. Algeo was always the first person that former students asked to see.
Mr. Algeo's wife, Mary Ann "Bonnie," coached field hockey and basketball, and was director of alumni at the school in Bryn Mawr for many years. Their four children were graduates.
J. Gordon Cooney Jr., chair of the board of trustees from 2001 to 2014, said Mr. Algeo "literally changed the school" by the positive force of his personality.
He helped make the school "truly coeducational," Cooney said, and pushed the school's athletes to achieve.
"As a football coach, Mr. A taught us that the sky is the limit if you believe in yourself, are willing to put in the hard work, and trust your teammates," Cooney said.
Teacher Steve Clarke said Mr. Algeo always saw the good in every student. "We had some kids that struggled and would not have been able to make it through without Mr. Algeo," Clarke said.
The school's all-weather field was named Algeo Field in his honor after the 2009 Homecoming. A plaque was presented during the 2014 Homecoming and was affixed to the gymnasium wall adjacent to the field.
Born in Darby to Sarah Kennedy and Daniel Algeo, Mr. Algeo grew up in Sharon Hill and graduated from Archmere Academy and St. Joseph's University.
A man of strong faith, he was a longtime member of St. Denis Church. He enjoyed American history and politics and was a lifelong Phillies fan, working with the team in Executive Guest Services for the last 10 years.
Surviving are a son, Ronald; daughters Katie Horgan, Kristine Kennedy, and Eileen Cianfrani; nine grandchildren; two brothers; and three sisters. His wife died in 2011 at age 64.
Visitation will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the Funeral Home of John Stretch, 236 E. Eagle Rd., Havertown. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Denis Church next door. Inurnment is in St. Denis Columbarium.
Donations may be made to the Rosemont School of the Holy Child, 1344 Montgomery Ave., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.