Former Berkeley Springs High School Teacher Stanley Ehlenbeck Dies at 97

Stanley Ehlenbeck, a former high school teacher at Berkeley Springs High School, has died at 97.

Ehlenbeck was born on June 4, 1919 and passed away on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

Stanley was a resident of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia at the time of his passing.

He was a 1936 graduate of Riverside High School in Milwaukee Wisconsin earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and earned his master’s degree in English from University of Wisconsin.

Stanley served with the United States Navy during World War II.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Monday September 26 2016 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Liberty and South Washington Streets with Rev. Fr. Leonard A. Smith as celebrant.

Private interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Fellow teacher Joan Kuiken took out an space in the Morgan Messenger this week to remember her friend.

“Stan and I started teaching at Berkeley Springs High School in 1969,” Kuiken wrote. “It did not take long after engaging him in conversation to realize that Berkeley Springs High School had been gifted with a Renaissance Man or a Man for All Seasons. Room 213 was the place where one could be assured that the subject of English – grammar, literature, and composition was being taught and lived.”

“He not only taught English as a subject but his wide range of experiences added a rich texture and added dimension to the field. As an officer in the Navy during World War II, an agent of the CIA, and a social worker, he could hold the student’s attention with anecdotes that would add meaning and understanding to the classroom work at hand. He not only knew his subject content, but was articulate and precise in his explanations. His use of the language was never sparse or meager – rather, there was more than one occasion that students and colleagues found themselves going to the dictionary to learn of a word they had never heard used before.”

“Being an educator was not a menial task to Stan. You have all heard the often abused adage ‘those who can, do, those who can’t teach.’ Well, I assure you this gentle man could have chosen whatever he wanted to do, but he chose to teach at the humble location of Berkeley Springs High School. He graced this community of students and teachers with leadership, quality of substance, and raised the bar to excellence in academia. Spelling, mattered. Speaking in a complete sentence, mattered. Writing coherently, mattered. Presenting oneself as a sensitive human being, mattered. Caring about the less fortunate, mattered. Rising above discrimination and bias, mattered. Integrity and growth, mattered. Expanding one’s horizons, mattered. Becoming a better person, mattered. Using one’s potential to be a constructive and productive citizen, mattered.”

“Stan was about all of this and he rejoiced when a student caught the message and came back years later to visit to share his or her story of success, growth, and contribution.”

“Stan instilled in his students the need to give back to society and to one’s community. He abhored apathy in students and in colleagues as well. He detested mediocrity and he pushed his students and challenged his colleagues to improve education and to be competitive with the curricula of surrounding states. He had little sympathy for excuses. He expected no more from students than he demanded from himself – the best they could be.”

“If the worth of a teacher is to be measured, it is to be measured not only by text book recitation and test score performance – education becomes hollow and sterile indeed, unless the human heart catches a vision of the human condition. Unless, the person instructed, glimpses the worth of an educated heart, all book learning becomes robotic. Unless a student is motivated to enrich his or her own personal/spiritual experience and share that for the betterment and improvement of humanity, education operates in a vacuum.”

“Stan was about this kind of transfer of learning. His love for the Arts, the Humanities, his love of poetry, opera, and his love for words transformed his teaching into a life experience. Those who worked with him, those who laughed with him – and there was a lot of that – those who debated with him and those who dialogued with him, were blessed in finding a man whose substance endured. He is a man for all Seasons. And we are better people for having him among us.”

“We give thanks for you. We celebrate you and we affirm you! Those of us who walked with him, loved him and were faithful friends will miss him. His soul lives on as he knew he was held by a Love that would not let him go.”

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