The two boarding schools I worked at, Northfield Mt. Hermon and Hyde School, both lost some great people in recent weeks. NMH lost David Demaine, and Hyde lost Paul Hurd.
Paul died in a car crash – he had apparently had a heart attack while driving. Luckily, no one else was injured. I barely met Paul, but I knew him by reputation. He was one of the Old Guard at Hyde, a staunch advocate of character education and someone who really knew how to jump in with both feet.
David died due to complications from cancer surgery. His wife Gail died in January of last year. I knew David tangentially from my time as a student – Gail was my Sophomore english teacher, and their son David and I took Russian together – but also from my time as a faculty member. David and Gail both were very warm and helpful to me in my year at NMH. They always had time to listen, and were there with a hand on the shoulder when I needed encouragement.
Boarding schools see their share of grief. Tragedies can take children and adults of all ages. As both a student and teacher, I appreciated that these diverse but tight-knit communities would come together in the face of loss, to remember the good that people brought to the world. Some people had their church or family or neighborhood to turn to. We had our teachers and classmates, students and colleagues, and in that time they were family.
I think you never really know someone until you see them through someone else’s eyes – it is a shame that we so often wait until people are gone to share what we see in them. Hyde and NMH are both poorer for the loss of these teachers, and richer for the things they left behind.