When Beavercreek resident Bob Weidner accepted a teaching position at Newton High School in Pleasant Hill, Ohio, he didn’t realize he had begun a 58-year career. Several school districts and thousands of students later, 81-year-old Weidner retired at the end of the school year last month.
A native of Beavercreek, Weidner went to Wilmington College after high school. “I graduated in 1957, spent two years in the Army, then registered to go to Miami University for my master’s degree,” he said.
“But I got a call to teach at Newton High School in Pleasant Hill, and could also coach. I wanted to be a football coach, but they needed a basketball coach, and I’d never played basketball in my life.”
He put off graduate school and took the job, teaching biology, physical science and physical education; in addition, he coached basketball and track, and became athletic director.
“My first teaching contract was for $3,900, but with the coaching, I got $4,500,” he recalls.
“I still remember my first day teaching: I was so nervous I couldn’t remember my lessons, so I started writing them on the chalkboard until I got used to it. And, for my first year, I’d stay up until 2 in the morning preparing those lessons since I wasn’t familiar with the textbooks.”
Three years later, he returned to his high school alma mater, Beavercreek. “When I started, I was working for the principal I’d had, Roger Sweet. I always respected him.”
At Beavercreek, in addition to his biology classes, he was head football coach for three years and head track coach for 32 years, two sports he’d participated in both in high school and college.
“After 35 years at Beavercreek, my faith told me I had to be in a Christian school, so I went to Troy Christian School in 1996, and have been there 20 years, teaching science and Bible classes,” he said. That decision included a commitment to a 40-mile drive between Beavercreek and Troy made twice each school day, during all types of weather.
Several years ago, Weidner decided that 60 years — his two years in the service were credited toward his retirement — would be enough, and his last day was May 31. “I was still having a lot of fun but thought it was time.”
Matt Klint, technology coordinator at Troy Christian School, said, “Bob has been a blessing to us all and will be sorely missed. He deserves some time off after the impact he’s had — so incredible!”
Weidner has plenty of yardwork on his three-quarter acre yard to keep him busy through the summer. “Then, Rachel, my wife of 52 years, and I will go on vacation, and maybe visit lighthouses.”
Rachel, who worked as a secretary at NCR before the couple had children, and has been a secretary in Beavercreek schools for 25 years, doesn’t plan to quit working yet. “Bob can run the house for a while,” she sad.
When school bells ring in the fall and Rachel returns to school, Weidner’s not sure what he’ll do, although he loves walking and tries to get his 10,000 steps in each day, is active at Mt. Zion Church in Beavercreek, and will find volunteer jobs, but knows he’ll miss teaching.
“I loved it. Anyone going into education has to love it and be prepared to work hard, be organized and know school procedures,” he says.
Contact this contributing writer at email@example.com.