Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lee Meyer: Science Teacher, Veteran, Educator: Rest in Peace

This is from the "We get too soon old and too late smart" department. About ten years too late. Several months back, I was reminded of something my high school chemistry teacher was fond of saying, a corny nerd joke, based on the atomic number of boron. He would finish an experiment or demonstration and then say to the class,
"Let us bore on", to which the whole class would dutifully remind him (if we were paying attention)
"That's element # 5, Mr. Meyer!"

For some reason, at the time, I just kept drawing a blank on the man's name. My high school yearbooks haven't been unpacked since my last move back to California, so there was no help there. Well, just a couple of minutes ago, that train of thought came back, prompted by an exchange on Twitter, and for just a split second, it was like seeing a light flash around the edge of a door, and I remembered his name: Lee Meyer.

I'd tried Googling "Science teacher" before, and "Stockton" and the name of the high school... all to no avail. Today, armed with his name, I Googled him and here's what I got:

H. Lee Meyer, 83, passed away peacefully in his home on Sunday, July 18, 2004 from complications related to a stroke. Mr. Meyer taught for Stockton Unified School District for 34 years, primarily at Stagg High where he was a popular and beloved chemistry teacher and Chairman of the Science Depart1ment. He also taught mathematics and science courses at Stockton and Franklin High and at Stockton's adult edu-cation schools. Beyond the classroom, Mr. Meyer served as an advocate for students and school employees as a public activist and president of the Stockton Teacher's Association. After he retired from teaching, he was elected to Stockton Unified School District's Board of Education and served as a dedicated and hard-working member and president. Lee was born in Oakland and raised here by third generation Stocktonians. He graduated from St. Mary's High School and later earned a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry at St. Mary's College in Moraga (1941). He earned his teaching credentials at the College of the Pacific in 1948. He was awarded several fellowships and pursued graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University where he worked under Linus Pauling. He earned his Master of Science Degree at Oregon State University. Lee served as an Air Force Intelligence Officer in the Pacific arena in World War II and was recalled to military service during the Korean War. Eventually, he retired from reserve duty as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The son of the late Norma Arment Meyer and Herbert Leland Meyer, Sr., Lee Meyer is survived by his wife of 57 years, Catherine Ann Witherow Meyer; his sister, Miriam Scriven, and his six children, Catherine Meyer-Johnson, her husband Craig Johnson, and granddaughters, Abigail and Emily; Patrick Meyer; Christopher Meyer; Lois Meyer, her husband Robert Widerspan, grandchildren, Marjorie and Benjamin; Nancy Smith and granddaughters, Sarah and Melissa, all of Santa Cruz, CA; and Stephen Meyer, his wife Julie Fenton Meyer and grandsons, Andrew and Paul of Sand- point, Idaho. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial bench to honor Mr. Meyer's many years of teaching, help, and inspiration to students will be placed in front of his former chemistry classroom at Stagg High School.

He was a good man. A bit of a liberal if I recall correctly, but a great teacher and an inspiration to thousands of students.

Mr. Meyer? When I get the chance, I'm going to 'bore on' over to your old classroom and take a look at that bench. Maybe I'll see you there?
Rest in peace.

H/T San Joaquin County CA Obituary Project

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