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In Memoriam Darrel Poling -- informal obituary

Discussion in 'Oslo American School' started by Mike, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Mike Administrator

    From Chris Baer's former website, now residing in the depths of the internet archives:

    April 10, 2000 -- Lesley Polka (OAS 1978-1981, class of '83, has provided the following information concerning the recent passing of one of the Oslo American School's former teachers, Darrel Poling:
    I have sad news to report. Darrel Poling, better known as "Mr. Poling" to his many pupils through the years at OAS, died on February 11, 2000, of complications from asthma and emphysema, which he had battled for several years. Mr. Poling taught 5th and 6th grades at OAS in the 1960's, 70's and 80's. He retired to his hometown in Ohio about 10 years ago where he enjoyed gardening and collecting art and antiques.
    My sister, Corey, was in Mr. Poling's 5th and 6th grade classes in 1978 and 1979 and has many fond memories of her two years in Mr. Poling's classroom ranging from making blueberry jam to a weeklong ski trip at an outdoor school in northern Norway. Corey and I also spent three years working on Mr. Poling's yearbook staff and remember spending many a snowy afternoon sorting through boxes of photos, laughing and reminiscing about the school year. Mr. Poling took a great deal of pride in putting together a quality yearbook; and Corey, my brother, Adam, and I still pull our yearbooks from those years out whenever we grow nostalgic for the good ol' days at OAS.
    My mother also remembers working with Mr. Poling on his yearly plant sale and marvels at his dedication to the Norwegian art of rosemaling, which he studied for many years while in Norway. She kept in touch with Mr. Poling through the years through Christmas letters and occasional phone calls where he would always be sure to relay the latest news of mutual friends with whom he had continued to correspond.
    My mother called Mr. Poling's home number in Van Wert, Ohio, one last time a few weeks ago and was greeted by an unfamiliar female voice. It was Mr. Poling's older sister who had been spending the week cleaning out Mr. Poling's house and sorting through his many belongings collected during his years of living in Europe and traveling around the world. She informed my mother of Mr. Poling's death only a few weeks earlier. His sister was particularly sad that she had no way of contacting Mr. Poling's many friends, both students and fellow teachers, from his years in Europe as she knew how important all his many friendships had been to him. My mother knew of this website and told Mr. Poling's sister that she would have me post something there to inform the many people who were privileged to be Mr. Poling's students and coworkers through the years. Mr. Poling's sister followed their phone call with a very nice letter and included a beautiful remembrance of Mr. Poling that was written by her son-in-law and read at the funeral. I have included it here as I think that it more eloquently summarizes his life and what he meant to those whose lives he touched than I could ever hope to do:

    Darrel Poling
    (January 1, 1930 - February 11, 2000)

    Darrel, a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a neighbor, and a friend. He was a collector of antiques, art, friends, and a cat named Buffy.
    He was also an adventurer. A person who traveled and lived throughout Europe, and of course he was foremost a teacher.
    He taught 5th and 6th grades. These were not ordinary classrooms, but rooms filled with children from all over the world. One class might include 4 or 5 languages, and represent 9 or 10 countries. A small United Nations with Darrel as the Secretary General.
    His classes would go on field trips to London, or ski vacations to the Norwegian countryside. Darrel thus helped to influence young children who are now adults living all over the world.
    This single man who loved to spend the day with a good book, or at a country auction rummaging through boxes, also loved people. He hosted dinner parties and traveled through Europe and the Mid-East with friends. He once told me of an evening that he watched a performance from the Royal box at a London theater.
    He was raised on a farm and yet came to love art, antiques, literature and classical music.
    He was soft spoken and a gentle man, but we all know he was a man of conviction who had a strong sense of right and wrong. He was not shy about visiting a city council meeting to voice a grievance or state an opinion.
    He also taught many of us that if we work hard and live good lives that we don't have to be bounded by humble beginnings, ordinary careers or even national boundaries. We can go where life takes us and make the most of it.
    He taught us that one person can make a difference in the world. He influenced people all over the world, and he influenced and inspired many of us here today.
    He taught his nieces and nephews about far away lands and places sending home gifts, pictures, and letters.
    He taught us to love and respect wildlife, flowers, and all of nature, and he taught us to hate a weed in a flower bed.
    When the time for retirement came and his adventures in Europe were over, he didn't hesitate for one moment about where he would live. Oslo and London were not considered. It had to be Van Wert. It was time to come home.
    Although he was single, he was a family man. He could list relatives on all sides of his family, dating as far back as the early 1800's. He was a supporter of family reunions where we had a chance to visit with and identify other family members, to keep the binds of family strong.
    He would be glad that we are here today to celebrate his life and our life as a family.
    Thanks for the lessons Darrel.
    Written by: Craig Furnas, Darrel Poling's sister's son-in-law, 2/14/2000

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