Wednesday, February 03, 2010


The world lost a Teacher yesterday. A dear and unique man, with a most infectious laugh. A stop by his office very often led to a discussion about something else once business was taken care of. Maybe Celtic languages. Or typefaces. Or computers. Or a story about the department in the 70s. Or why he had a dried chunk of dirt wrapped in plastic in his desk (it was a peat brick from Scotland, which of course led to another conversation). Or how his latest cooking class was going. Or books.

Gems of conversations, each one held dear.

He was kindness, calm, generosity and philosophical wisdom all rolled together with a twinkle in his eye, a smile, and a bottle of Diet Coke in his hand. He is the reason I didn't give up on one particularly bad day. The books he passed on to me when he retired are cherished and regularly put to good use.

He taught me an enormous amount about teaching.

Once, during a discussion about bell towers and carillons (a topic arrived at by a perfectly logical course of discussion that I couldn't replicate if I tried), he recommended a particular book. Today I can't get it out of my head.

To my friend and mentor:

"The voice of the Bells of Fenchurch St. Paul: Gaude, Gaudy, Domini in laude. Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. John Cole made me, John Presbyter paid me, John Evangelist aid me. From Jericho to John A-Groate there is no bell can better my note. Jubilate Deo. Nunc Dimittis, Domine. Abbot Thomas set me here and bade me ring both loud and clear. Paul is my name, honour that same.

Gaude, Sabaoth, John, Jericho, Jubilee, Dimity, Batty Thomas and Tailor Paul.

Nine Tailors Make a Man."

- Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors

Many, many people will miss you dearly, Hank.

I will miss you dearly.

Toll the bell nine times. The world has lost a Teacher.

1 comment:

Mar said...

A beautiful, heartfelt tribute to an important man in your life. If anyone could have the privilege of knowing just one person like that what a life changing gift that would be. Thank you for sharing your experience of him.