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Thursday, August 6, 2009

School of Life II and a Legend!

First, You must scroll down and read Sir Dayvd's excellent blog (Unlike Dayvd, I was fortunate enough to have a special teacher).

Just this morning I was kicking around in my head (a rather large, empty space,
space, space...) a blog about a favorite teacher of mine. Sorry to say, every yarn I thought about telling ended with "...but I guess you had to be there."

What unique qualities did Brother Eugene Phillipp, CSC possess? Sir Dayvd's timely post summed it up neatly for me:

He challenged traditional classroom education and reorganized knowledge, directing it towards life, and away from knowledge for its own sake. In a modest way, he gave us a sense of direction and wisdom for our lives.

He was fond of saying "Know what you want, know that you can do it, and do it!"

Phillipp taught history and psychology at Memorial High School for 48 years. 48 years!

A member of the Congregation of Holy Cross in South Bend, Ind., Phillipp grew up in Cleveland and was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College in Winona, Minn.

Brother Eugene Phillipp, 71, died Tuesday after battling cancer.

(Notes from an article in today's Courier Press) "Phillipp lived a simple life in Evansville that revolved around his Catholic faith and his work at the high school," said Mark Schoenbaum, a friend and fellow teacher.

"He was in the school all year round, even on Christmas break, waxing floors. Not only did he teach, but he had a real love for the building," Schoenbaum said.

"Brother lived faithfully and worked hard," Schoenbaum said. "He also toed a pretty straight line. You always knew where you stood with him. You knew what line not to cross, adults too. He expected the best out of everyone. Not just students, but teachers as well."

Memorial seniors, saddened they will begin their final year of high school without Phillipp, organized a candlelight vigil in his memory Wednesday evening at the school.

A portrait of Phillipp, flanked by candles, was placed at the front door as numerous students gathered to pay tribute.

JASON CLARK / Courier & Press Memorial High School graduates Emily Durchholz, left, and John Hodge, along with Memorial senior Annie Baumer, attend a candlelight vigil in honor of Brother Eugene Phillipp.

"He was a legend here," senior Caitlyn Hammack said. "He just gave everything of himself to Memorial. He loved this place. This was his life."

I was fortunate enough to have "Mein Führer" (as we affectionately called him) for several classes.
Happily, we shared more than a few stories and a few beers (usually warm cheap lagers) on the porch of the brother's house.

Thank you Brother Eugene for helping prepare me -- and 48 years of students -- for my School of Life.

Sir Bowie of Greenbriar


  1. Now that my friends is a Life well lived , and a true legend in all the best senses of the word.

    Sir D of O

  2. I remember us joking about Brother Eugene just the other day in England!

    I never had the pleasure of knowing him; however, my version of that was my grad school music and band teacher, Merle Newcombe.

    Merle added the zest for creative living and expression in my starving mind!

    God Speed Brother Eugene!

    Sir Hook of Warrick

  3. heh..,... before anyone runs away with the idea that I had poor teachers and zilch Practical English teacher, Ms Talmage, stands out as one of the main starting blocks in my race for life.....

    .... Not for the fact that she wore excruciatingly short skirts and perched on the desk in front of me...

    ..........nor for any huge wisdom she added to my "precocious" writing,( which hasn't really developed since )..

    ........ but for the simple act; when on the last day of school, at age 16, she caught me up on the long driveway, as everyone streamed out of school, and handed me all my essays and poems, from the years of course work, saying that she just had to save them from going to the incinerator, along with everyone elses.

    Well Miss T, forty years later they are still warm and dry, in their mock leather folder, stored in my Studio upstairs, and i raise a glass to wherever you are now, to the moment, good grades aside, from whence every good word i've written since, flowed.

    Sir D ( whose spelling, proof-reading, and punctuation would get him suspended these days ) of O

  4. The only teacher that really stands out for me was my grade school art teacher and one time homeroom teacher, Jim Goodridge. He was funny, understanding, answered my questions honestly .... A few years ago he killed himself while a teacher at my old high school, but not while at school. Apparently he suffered from being bi-polar, I assume, most of his life. I've had a few other teachers that I liked, but none that I can say had an influence on me.

    Come to think of it, my grade school COUNSELOR supposedly killed himself as well, many years ago.

    Carpe Crayon