I really didn't intend for this blog to take a turn into the negative. However, sometimes the dice just roll out this way. I just hope this week ends without another formative piece of my past dying, burning down - whatever. Mr. McClure was one of those pivotal teachers who makes a mark on you. Before I took his class I always had a passing interest in history. Yet, it was more an offshoot of my love of mythology. When you learn about the Greek and Roman gods you naturally learn about the people and the times. In the same vein I always enjoyed historically based movies be they fact or fiction. I loved the Indiana Jones: The Raiders of the Lost Ark. I loved the movie Midway, Cleopatra, all those old Cecile B. DeMille movies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail... The list goes on. I loved the idea of history, but it really wasn't an actual focus of mine.
Mr. McClure, put that focus within my grasp. He was a male teacher for one thing which really helped. The only previous male teacher I had before him was Mr. Fink my 3rd Grade (4th?) science teacher (Earth Science) back in Easthampton. He was another favorite teacher of mine. If I hadn't hated math... I wanted to be a scientist up until Algebra I, LOL. I hated math until college then that switch finally flipped and I saw it in a more 'artistic' sense. (If he taught at Park St. it was 4th. If he taught at Maple St. it was 3rd.) Wow, I haven't thought about him in a long time. He had a rose quartz on his desk. (The rose quartz which I have today is directly linked to my appreciation of his.) He raced at the Riverside Speedway back in the day. He complimented me for turning 9 and said that I was in the last year of my single digits. OK, I am fairly positive that it was 4th grade. Anyway, back to Mr.McClure. I just loved his presentation of the subject. He truly enjoyed what he taught and I really connected with him. He read books and that fact also resonated with me. He molded a lot of potential that had lain within me. He is a man that I completely and totally respected. I take a good portion of who I am today and credit it to him.
Here is his bio which was posted in the paper.
NORTHAMPTON - Kendall B. "Coach" McClure, 85, of 27 Vernon St., passed away Sunday, June 13, 2010, at the Linda Manor Extended Care Facility in Leeds.
Born in St. Louis, July 8, 1924, he was the son of the late Kendall B. McClure Sr. and the late Frances (Titzell) McClure Carlsen.
He lived in Texas for many years. He was educated in Texas schools and received his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas, later earning master's degrees in history and counseling from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
He was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Army D Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, achieving the rank of captain. He was wounded in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. He was awarded two Purple Heart medals and was awarded two Bronze Stars, one with valor.
After the war, Kendall married his wife, Mary (Fitzgerald), in the Panama Canal Zone in 1951. They moved to Austin, Texas, and later to Northampton in 1956. He was a longtime teacher, first in Northampton, then Amherst, the Williston Northampton School, South Hadley, and retired from Holyoke Catholic High School. He was also a longtime assistant football and track coach in Northampton, at Williston Northampton School and in South Hadley.
He was a member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the U.S. Army Rangers Association. He was also a longtime communicant of the former Blessed Sacrament Church. He loved football and was a voracious reader.
Coach McClure is survived by his wife, Mary; his son, Dwight Carlsen McClure of Westfield; his daughters Barbara Neslin and her husband, Stuart, of Rome, Ga., and Patricia McClure of Portland, Maine; his brother, Donald P. McClure of Corpus Christi, Texas; his six grandchildren, Sheila, Andrew, Nate, Kenneth, Annie and Thomas; his four great-grandchildren, Brandon, Grace, Kendall Mary and Annabella; and nieces and nephews.
Coach McClure's funeral will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. from the Ahearn Funeral Home, 783 Bridge Road in Northampton, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in the Annunciation Chapel of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
Burial will be at the convenience of the family. Calling hours are Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the Northampton High School Football Program, 380 Elm St., Northampton, MA 01060.