Howard Bock Changed My Life

Howard Bock CHS 23 When I ran across this portrait of Howard Bock it got me to thinking about a post I did about him on my bike blog when he died. It’s worth revisiting and revising. You can click on the photo to make it larger. I really like it.

Howard Gilbert Bock, 87, lifelong resident of Cape Girardeau, died Monday, May 11, 2009.

It was a longish obituary by most standards because he had a much more active life than I ever knew.

B-26 Engineer Gunner in WWII

The quiet-spoken man had been an engineer gunner on B-26s in World War II. You would never know from talking with him that he had he been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, five air medals, American Defense Medal and campaign ribbons (Battle of Europe, Battle of the Rhineland and Battle of Ardennes-The Bulge).

Howard BockHe had been a teacher, coach and administrator for 32 years.

The Bocks lived on my newspaper route (on the left side of the road on a downhill stretch; they didn’t have any special requests, so I could fling and wing without slowing down). Jo Ann Bock, his wife, was my Cub Scout den mother.

When I was 12 years old, our family took a vacation / business trip to Florida. (Dad was looking for construction equipment to buy.) He gave me a Kodak Tourist II folding camera and I fell in love with photography.

When I was a high school freshman, I discovered the debate club, which caused photography to take a back seat.

My partner and I were undefeated for the year, so I thought law and politics were in my future. (You’ve heard me tell about why I abandoned politics.)

Do you want to join photo staff?

Howard Bock CHS 24Mr. Bock approached me one day, said he had heard that I was interested in photography and wondered if I might like to join the newspaper and yearbook photo staffs.

Darkroom was our special place

Cape Giradeau Central High School Girardot Photo Staff 1965I don’t know that I gave it much thought, but I joined the staff and learned how to process film and make prints in a tiny darkroom on the second floor down near the science classrooms. There wasn’t enough room to swing a cat, but we photographers had a key to the darkroom and it was our special place to hang out between classes.

It wasn’t long before I was freelancing for the local papers and discovering that being a photographer doing exciting things was more fun than the prospect of doing dull lawyer research. I can thank Mr. Bock for sending me off on a career path that was satisfying and rewarding. You never know where the ripples are going to go when you drop a pebble in the pond.

Uncle Milty and General O

Two of Central High School’s other science teachers were equally colorful and were war veterans of note.

7 Replies to “Howard Bock Changed My Life”

  1. The only thing I can say about all of this is, we all were very lucky to to be taught by the greatest generation. It has been a blessing for all of us.

    ….and I would not be in a DARK ROOM with any of the persons in that picture 4# or even the person taking the picture of the persons in picture 4#.

  2. Mr. Bock became a favorite teacher of mine in first year biology. I just couldn’t bring myself to cut my earthworm open so he used mine as the example for others with him demonstrating the process. I had no problem with the other dissections we did, the frog and pig come to mind. I loved the biology classes and I’m sure he was the reason why.

  3. Ken,
    Do you remember where photo 1 was taken? I graduated Central forty years ago and can not place the building way in the background outside the window.

    1. I was a little confused about that, too. I usually thought of the science classrooms as being on the north side of Central. This one must have been on the south side of the north wing. The building on the far right is the gym.

      You can see a similar view in the last photo of a post I did on the typing room.

  4. Yeah, I can place it now! Haven’t been on the back side of the school in years. Above the cafeteria if memory serves me! Thanks.

  5. All of the teachers you mentioned today and yesterday were great teachers. I was so scared of Ms. Sackman I nearly got ulcers in the first month of school, but I developed a great love for history from having had her as a teacher. In addition to these wonderful teachers, I had three teachers who lived within a half block of my house. The dedication all of them demonstrated to me influenced the teacher I became. We were indeed lucky to have a great generation of teachers.

  6. I don’t recall having a class with Mr Bock or Mr Ueleke. I was looking my Mother’s yearbook and apparently Mr Bock was quite an athlete at Central. Mr and Mrs Ueleke were friends of the family and was in the same Sunday School Class as my folks.
    Mr OLoughlin was something else. I think I was in his first class at Central. He and Dad had been in National Guard together. I was in the second row first seat which meant each day I reported the attendance in my row which would go like this-Company Baker, all present. In his class row one was able, row two was baker, Row three was Charlie, row four was dog and row five was easy. I don’t remember much chemistry but I do remember the three ways to deploy tanks in combat!
    There were a number of teachers at Central that did so much to educate me despite my shortcomings!

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