Today, I found out that my friend and colleague at NCSSM, Don Houpe, passed away last night. Don taught Spanish and French as well as Esperanto at NCSSM. He was also the Foreign Language Coordinator for the school. Don was a wonderful man and exceptional teacher in so many ways. He had a gentle manner and always had a pleasant word in the hallway. Everyone that knew Don, loved him. He was sort-of an old school guy in all the best ways. He loved his students and his subject matter. He was a great role model for me as a teacher. He was dedicated to this institution and proud of the folks that he worked with. He also loved music and loved to discuss various composers and musical experiences. I think he was partial to Strauss.
I had the pleasure of sitting down to breakfast with Don last Friday. We had a great conversation about the past summer and the upcoming school-year. I am glad that we spent that time together.
Last spring, Don need to have an audio cassette transferred to CD. I ran into him in the library, trying to figure out the computer set-up in there. He wasn't going to ask me to do the transfer for him. He never would. Fortunately, I had a little bit of time and offered to take it over to my office and take care of it. Don really appreciated it and came over while I was doing some of the work. We chatted for quite some time about his house in Virginia, Esperanto, the upcoming summer, and life at NCSSM. I will cherish the memories that I have of Don. He was a wonderful man and a true role model.
I hope that you all have a Don Houpe in your life at some point. If you do, tell them that you appreciate them. Life is fleeting. Take the time to be a friend now. You don't always get to do it tomorrow.