Tuesday, October 22, 2013


My friend Dr. Hannah KAY Case and her sister Dr. Nelly Maude Case, invited Gerald and me to attend the induction ceremony of their grandfather Karl J. Kay, into the Washington High School Academic Hall Of Fame. In her presentation, Nelly Maude described her grandfather as a "Renaissance Man"; among Mr. Kay's achievements were: a career in education of more than 60 years where he taught subjects as diverse as Latin, math, science, Manual Arts, and coaching. As well as being a teacher, he was also a Principal and School Administrator. Mr. Kay held the distinction of being awarded a Universal Teaching Certificate from the State of Ohio which meant that he was qualified to teach any subject, although his main subjects were math and science. He had received his Master's Degree with a major in Music Education and a minor in Chemistry. In addition to his academic responsibilities, at different times Mr. Kay held the positions of Orchestra Conductor, Vocal Director, Theater Director, and he created the high school Marching Band as well as starting a chapter of Future Teachers Association. After retiring, Mr. Kay was a substitute teacher for many years at numerous schools, including teaching math and science at Bloomingburg High School.

His outside activities were as remarkable as his school teaching career. He was responsible for the installation of the pipe organ in the WHS auditorium. Mr. Kay was also the author of the words to the Alma Mater for WHS. He served regularly as a church organist and choir director, securing pipe organs and church bells for St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at two separate locations. He was also known for maintaining beehives, building furniture, farming, directing plays, and conducting a community orchestra.

My brother Bode was one of Mr. Kay's students at Bloomingburg High School; Bode was the kind of student who would skip school to go to Vic Donohoe's to play pool and then return and be able to ace any test. That behavior did not find favor with Mr. Kay. Mr. Kay, who had also taught my mother at WHS in the 1920s, spoke to my mother about the "problem"! He actually remembered my mother as a student and told her that Bode should be a "good student" as she was. Mother said she asked him, "How much smarter do you want him to be?"

Mr. Kay was known as "Cueball" because of his pilgarlic pate.

Although Bode was blind in one eye, he was still required to register for the Selective Service at age eighteen. Mr. Kay was the head of the local Selective Service Board. One day Bode was involved in a fender-bender with the 70-something Mr. Kay and Mr. Kay was at fault. The following week Bode received his "Greetings" that he was drafted into the Army! Bode always laughed about it and asserted that it was because of Mr. Kay's punishing his skipping school more than the accident! Bode considered "Cueball" Kay and "Ma" Elliott to be his best teachers. Mrs. Elliott told me that Vic Emory and Bode were the two smartest pupils she ever had. I laughed and asked, "What about my mother?" Mrs. Elliott had also taught my mother, but she did not remember her; we always suspected that Mrs. Elliott had a preference for boys! Mother said, "At least Mr. Kay remembered me!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it truly amazing that some teachers can recall students years later? I remember your telling about how you thought you were "unforgettable" and the old fart didn't remember you! ML