My absolute favorite teacher from high school passed away recently, and I’m surprised at how much I actually cared. I wrote a condolence letter to his widow that I’m sharing below. If you have a favorite teacher, do me a favor, and write a letter or reach out, before they pass away.
Dear Ms Ballard,
Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. I do not normally write condolence letters, but “Doctor Bob” had a major influence on me, and I felt compelled to express that to you.
I regret that I never took the time to write to Dr. Perrin to tell him how profoundly he affected my life. I took several classes from him, including relativistic physics, and a special math seminar in advanced algebra with only one other student. He infected me with his love of both physics and math, and along the way gave me tools that I still use today. I have a very clear memory (from over 20 years ago) of him trying several ways of explaining a complex math concept, until I finally cried “Bingo!” as I got it.
Doctor Bob made a substantial difference in not only my attitude towards these sciences, but also for literally generations of students. The world needs more like him. He will be sorely missed.
Tom Shields, Andover ’85