In one’s lifetime we all come in contact with unique individuals with one-of-a-kind personalities. My friend Barry Glick was one of those individuals. I had the good fortune to be one of his many friends.
Unfortunately, Barry was killed on Feb, 16, 2021 during a tornado in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina that destroyed his home. The day before his death I wrote the following column; it was a commentary on a productive retirement and a tribute to a memorable educator.
It is a strange coincidence that I would write this. I finished the article Monday evening only to hear the next day the tragic news of Barry’s passing. Here is the column I had written:
Every once in a while, I will get a call from an old colleague and friend Barry Glick. Mr. Glick taught both of my boys in the 7th grade and had a profound effect in shaping both of them into adulthood. In fact, I am going to guess a few of the readers of The Rafu have had Mr. Glick as their teacher.
Some will have fond memories but others may still be recovering from years of therapy. (ha!ha!ha!)
Barry Glick was a legendary teacher at Brightwood School in Monterey Park. He was tough and he had rigorous standards. One of my friends used to say if you could survive Glick in the 7th grade you could survive anything. Being in his 7th grade class was like going to college early.
Barry is a retired United States Army colonel and a native New Yorker. My son Derek did a perfect imitation of his New York accent, which he never lost even after years of living in Southern California.
He was a dedicated educator who provided experiences for his students outside the classroom. He would take students on trips to Europe. He took his students to the opera and symphony to expose them to classical culture.
Now this is not to say the Mr. Glick did not have some objections to his methods and sometimes had to deal with critical parents.
He had one of the best retirement luncheons I have ever experienced. As he made his farewell speech about his career at Brightwood, tears were flowing in an audience numbering over 300. Students from many of his classes showed up to honor him. In other words, he had a profound effect on several generations of Brightwood students.
He and his wife moved to a retirement community in North Carolina. It is in retirement the Mr. Glick continues to have an impact.
Barry is a great role model for those who are considering retirement. In our conversations through the years since his retirement he felt he needed a purpose. He was not one of those guys who could play golf all the time or be content being occupied with hobbies.
In retirement he could not get teaching out of his system. For the last 14 years he became a requested substitute teacher in the surrounding school districts near his home in North Carolina.
He did not just want to be someone who babysat students for a day; instead he has created a storehouse of videos and PowerPoint presentations to enrich the students in the classes where he was a substitute. He continues to practice his craft.
Now 79, Barry is still substitute teaching. In addition, he plays the clarinet in church and in nursing homes.
Several years ago, he created a history club that holds monthly presentations in the retirement community he is living in. Not only has it given him another activity but members of his community are able to share their life experiences and their expertise in a historical subject.
He continues to travel to Europe with wife Jean whenever possible and has taken both student and adult groups on tours.
Recently Barry indicated to me in a Zoom session that there would be a time to for him to actually retire. He wanted to use his remaining years spending time with his wife. They both loved to travel and were planning on staying a month in Europe when the pandemic comes under control.
Barry left us too soon and will be missed. Yet his memory will be preserved by all the Brightwood students that he had through the years. In his memorable retirement speech, he described that when he was called home to Jesus he would have a future first day of school as entering “my heaven”! What a beautiful legacy to a one-of-a kind person!
Bill Yee is a retired Alhambra High School history teacher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.