Category: Faculty


Dobelbower JackDobelbower

This clipping from The Tulsa World Sept. 20 1995 was in one of my old files. Thought I might share it here for posterity.

Jack Dobelbower was definitely a teacher of the old school, and quite unapologetic about it. He taught math at Edison since it opened in 1955 until his retirement in 1986.

Two facts about his life impressed me. One was that he and his wife married three weeks after they met. Dobe was not big on indecision. And if I’m not mistaken, the Dobelbowers opened their house and took in quite a number of foster and/or adoptive children. You’d have thought that he’d had enough of kids on his day job.

Richard Curby was an outstanding teacher with a brilliant head for math and science and a computer geek before geeks were cool. He taught me and a host of other minds full of mush the power of deductive reasoning and the art of dimensional analysis. In other words, Mr. Curby’s classes laid the foundation of my ability to think like an engineer.

In addition to teaching Geometry and Physics, Mr. Curby was our Junior Class sponsor as well as the sponsor of the Chess Club. He also took on the task of developing the first-ever Computer Science curriculum at Edison in the Spring semester of 1973. He would probably have been somewhat surprised that I learned enough html code to be able to manage a WordPress blog.

My thanks to David Alaback for forwarding Richard’s obit. I had no inkling of the challenges that confronted Mr. Curby in his life. May he rest in peace.

Richard Curby

December 23, 1941 – April 13, 2015

RICHARD, a life long resident of Tulsa, died peacefully at home. His was a life well lived in spite of repeated hospitalizations and major surgeries for a cranial tumor discovered when he was 37.

The result of these procedures left him with extensive lung damage, nerve injury to the right side of his face rendering him blind and deaf on that side, taking food through a J-tube, and breathing and speaking via a tracheotomy tube. His love of teaching math and physics at Edison High School ended when he could no longer project his voice. However, his stubborn determination won out. He learned ASL sign language, continued his computer interests, and worked to advocate for accessibility for the disabled nationally, in Tulsa, and in the Kansas-Oklahoma conference of his church. For hobbies, he went to Oilers ice hockey games and collected humor to send to friends by email.

His family and friends will celebrate his life 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 25 at Fellowship Congregational Church, 2700 S Harvard. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to TSHA (formerly Tulsa Speech and Hearing) or Evergreen Hospice.

Another trip down Memory Lane…

— By Ken Koch

imageFor better or worse, the other excellent posts in this blog [see here and here] have spurred me on to offer my own reflections…

I was heavily recruited to leave Edison and be part of the grand experiment that was getting underway at Booker T. Washington: “the best teachers”; “more special classes from which to choose”; “great facilities”; “your very own TV studio”; and “a show on Tulsa Cable”.

Mr. Crowell, though, made a more compelling case for me to stay at Edison. We cobbled together our own, albeit very crude, studio… black-and-white cameras, bang box switcher, and a 3/4 inch machine that we set up in the hallways for playback.

As a senior, I arranged to have two periods of Instructional Media (which was unheard of). Mr. Kirby was very unhappy that I wasn’t signing up for Calculus with Mr. Dobelbower… he was convinced I was making a huge, life mistake spending so much time in IM.

As it turned out, Mr. Crowell did me a huge favor… the experience I gained helped me get my first job in broadcasting (while still at Edison) and, 40 years later, most every turn in my career has had a connection back to those days on the third floor. Likewise, Benson let me write articles for the newspaper that got her called on the carpet (but earned me scholarships). Mrs. Landry let me be her teacher’s aide as she amazed students by unraveling the arcane world of Algebra, while taking time for sing-alongs of The Red River Valley and railing against racism as only a child of the South could.

My path was not the usual one (remember the bluegrass and country/western performances?), but it was one that received guidance and support that were pure Edison. I’m fairly certain that each of you had a similar experience. I look forward to hearing stories about your Eagle journey next weekend.

by Julie Price Davidson

In the field of journalism, the deadline is king. This reality came back to haunt me earlier this year when I heard about the death of an Edison teacher. Benson was not just any teacher. For me, she was THE teacher – the one whose influence was real and still remains with me today. Many of my high school memories have faded through the years, but the experiences with Benson remain vivid. She was direct, often confrontational, and always uncompromising in her pursuit of educating her students.

I first met Sandra Benson in sophomore journalism class, and I was hooked. She was unlike any teacher I had ever known – welcoming any and all questions and enthusiastically sharing the knowledge and practical expertise she had gained as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. She was ahead of her time in many ways, working in what was then a male-dominated profession and earning a master’s degree. And that energy and drive translated well to the classroom. She made it fun to learn, giving us an uncensored peek into the real world, which made us feel informed and emboldened.

Benson with her daughter at an EHS excurricular event.

Benson and her daughter Laura at an EHS extracurricular activity.

In the pre-digital era, Benson taught us the hands-on skills of laying out a page with a pica pole, counting a headline to fit, and using a proportional wheel to size photos. We learned the inverted pyramid style of newswriting, how to construct a strong “lead,” and the importance of proofreading (complete with hilarious and usually off-color examples of typos from her newspaper days.)

She was just plain cool – insisting we call her “Benson,” instead of “Mrs.” Benson; letting us sit on the tables as she taught us the art of collaboration; giving us freedom to come and go as needed to pursue a story or shoot the right photo; constantly challenging us to dig deeper; and most of all, treating us like people who could be trusted. Yet, there was never any doubt who was in charge!

Junior and senior years, I had her for both journalism and yearbook. She had instituted the awesome tradition of an early morning “kidnapping” of the new Torch staff members each year, followed by breakfast and her announcement of the new staff positions. A bit shy and somewhat insecure, I had applied to be a section editor as a senior. When she named me the new editor-in-chief, I was completely intimidated. I hadn’t asked for that role and I wasn’t sure I could do it. But in her inimitable way, Benson was telling me that I could and that I would.

I went on to major in journalism and am still working in the field of communications. It’s taken me years to fully appreciate the many life lessons Benson taught me and I had always intended to write her a letter of thanks someday. Then I read of her passing on Dec. 30, 2013. She had served Edison students for nearly 40 years, ending her career as a school counselor. Benson, thank you for caring about young people and for contributing so significantly to my life. And please forgive me for missing my deadline.

With Benson's blessing, the Torch staff had our yearbook photo taken at the Tulsa County jail.

With Benson’s blessing, the Torch staff had our yearbook photo taken at the Tulsa County jail.

Frank Grimm Story #1

Frank Grimm was an assistant football coach at Edison our junior and senior years. He was an ex-TU football player who originally hailed from Philadelphia; he had a thick Philadelphia accent, like Stallone in Rocky, but that movie was still a few years in the future.

Several of the senior high coaches received classroom teaching assignments at Edison Junior High, and Coach Grimm was no different. He taught four periods of 7th grade geography, down in the prefabs on the far end of campus, before sixth hour gym.

Coach Grimm was a great guy who took coaching seriously. He always called me “Malley”, and with his accent it sounded more like “Maui”. I played the offensive line, as did Mitch Nalley. And then a new assistant coach, Tom O’Malley, became the offensive line coach for our senior year. It never occurred to me that some might find this confluence of names confusing.

During one practice, Coach Grimm tried to set up a blocking drill: “OK, let me have, uh … Randy McNalley!”

Mitch and I looked at each other. Who in the hell was Coach calling into the drill?

It was not until much later that I realized who this Randy McNalley dude was, and how he made such an impression on our coach. After all, Coach Grimm looked at his name all day long, hanging there in his prefab classroom, in the title block of the Mercator Projection of The World — “Rand McNally.”

Coach Tom Langham, 1929-2013

Thomas Steven Langham, 84, of Glenpool, Oklahoma went to be with the Lord early September 12, 2013 in his home surrounded by his family. He was born in Frederick, OK on July 29, 1929 to Pascal and Mary Langham. He graduated from Frederick High School in 1947. After serving in the Army, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1952. He earned his Master’s degree in Education from Southeastern in 1958. He married Pauline May Townsend in Antlers, OK in 1952. He was a teacher and coach at Henrietta, Newkirk, Cleveland, Tulsa-Edison, and Tulsa-East Central High Schools. He retired as Athletic Director at Sapulpa High School in 1984. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006. … A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. You are invited to stay and visit with the family after the service. … In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to First Presbyterian Church of Sapulpa in his memory. … This obituary was published in the Tulsa World on 9/15/2013.

Tom Langham was Edison’s head football coach my junior and senior years. Coach Langham was respected and liked by everyone, and it was obvious how much he wanted the best for his players. He pushed us hard, but never to the point of injury or harm.

Things I remember: Coach Langham would stand and point down the field with an oddly double-jointed elbow so that his outstretched arm described an impossible-looking angle.

Whenever the team’s practice habits were lackluster, Coach would say we "looked like we had the mocus". I’m not sure what the mocus is or how one gets it, but I’m sure Coach knew the mocus when he saw it. When blocking broke down, he’d say the defense poured in "like Grant took Richmond". A reference for the future history majors, I guess.

Coach Langham also coached swimming. I remember a famous yearbook "photobomb" (before that was a thing): Coach in the foreground, and the out-of-focus but clearly-visible backside of a changing swimmer in the background.

More than anything, it was obvious that Tom Langham chose coaching as a career, not because he had some giant competitive to feed, but because he knew he could have a positive impact on the character development of young men. Well done, Coach.