Saturday, December 05, 2009

SWCS English teacher Harry Robie dies at 75

BEREA, Kentucky, USA - Harry Robie, English teacher to virtually all SWCS Class of '66 graduates died Dec. 3.
   For the past few weeks, I was trying to get in touch with Harry. One of his children had contacted me via 'blogger' and said Harry was failing fast. I couldn't find a way to get contact them back. Dammit.


Here is his obituary from the Jamestown Post Journal:

Harry William Robie, 75, of Berea, Ky., died of cancer on Dec. 3, 2009.
Survivors include his loving wife of 53 years, Laura Rector Robie; four children: David, Jonathan, Steven, Sara; and 10 grandchildren.
Born Oct. 2, 1934, in Niagara Falls, N.Y., to the late Norman and Beatrice Robie, he graduated from the University of Rochester, earned a master's degree at SUNY Fredonia, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He taught En-glish, speech, and debate at Southwestern Central High School for more than 20 years. In 1985 Harry retired and moved to Berea to teach college full time. Following his second retirement from Berea College in 1992, Harry and Laura founded Robie and Robie: Fine Books. He always maintained that every small town should have one really good used bookstore, and he was proud that he had been able to fulfill his life long dream.
Reppert Funeral Home and Cremation Service entrusted with arrangements. www.reppertfuneralhome. com.

Harry Robie
Harry Robie

   Harry Robie was a pivotal character in my life, kicking my butt quite thoroughly from time to time for my academic laziness. He had me pegged quite well.
   But he also taught me that wanting to be a writer was a cool thing and that you could be athletic and cool and still be a writer.
   He encouraged me to become staff writer on the Trojan, the school newspaper, where John Rupp and I wrote stories (but mostly gossip columns). I can still hear Harry's voice. His was one class where I sat up front - I didn't want to miss anything.
   Several years ago I started drafting a book about high school, with the working title of The Class of '66. Had I been in touch with Harry then, he no doubt would have kicked my butt to finish it. Maybe his death will do that.
   Either way, one of the chapters in that book is titled Year of the Robie, and while the chapter isn't entirely about him, obviously his influence during my junior year of high school stuck pretty hard.

Here's a link to the draft.
Rest in peace Harry Robie. You will not be forgotten.