Fatal hit and run takes life of former St. Louis high school teacher


ST. LOUIS – Students learned today that their longtime high school teacher was killed Thursday in a hit and run. He was a St. Louis University High School teacher who was so popular that he had a term named after him.

“Steve Aylward was a memorable character. When you were in Steve’s class, he made an impression on you,” said Jim Linhares, who worked with him for years.

“He was passionate about his view of the world and sharing it with you.”

Aylward was so memorable that his last name became part of the campus language. 

“An ‘Aylwardism,’ … (or) to step into ‘Aylward territory’ was to come into a place of passionate conviction. It was to hear how things really are,” Linhares said.

Aylward was a history teacher who retired in 2006. The school’s newspaper at the time honored him with a two-page article in which students wrote about what he meant to them.

“I always came back with a greater passion, a greater desire to learn and to make up the vast gaps in my historical knowledge,” editor-in-chief Tim Huether wrote.

A former student who is now a history teacher, Tom McCarthy, wrote, “he is a remarkable teacher for getting students to think and not to memorize. I think that’s probably his best legacy here.”

St Louis police are investigating Aylward’s fatal hit and run. They don’t know much yet about the driver except they believe it was a silver Chevy Impala that was going west on Gravois near McNair when it struck 75-year-old Aylward. It stopped, made a u-turn, and took off. 

“Jesuits are known for their passion and Steve brought the passion,” Linhares said. “And I think when students were in his class, they realized ‘Hey, wait a minute, this guy’s tough and scary, but he’s also telling me what he really thinks, and he respects me enough to think I belong I the conversation,’ “

Aylward lived in webster groves. He taught for nearly 30 years, including a few years when he was involved in track and cross country.

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