Response to our story on the destruction of a memorial tree for former Oberlin teacher Bob Jimison has been overwhelming.
A severe thunderstorm downed the tree March 8 at Langston Middle School. Chris Frank, the principal at Langston, put out a plea for those who knew Jimison to share information about him.
“I’ve gotten responses from former teachers and former students that have given me stories and positive memories about him,” Frank said. “I’ve probably had seven or eight people who have responded and written me some nice little note about him.”
Those stories paint a portrait of a man who touched many of his students’ lives.
“They said he was a really kind man that was really concerned about his students’ welfare. He really cared deeply about his students,” Frank said. “This was a guy that taught only for a short time. For people to feel compelled to share their stories, a lot of which are very heartfelt and emotional, is really something.
“There was a story about him taking an entire class to his family farm and having a field trip where they spent the night at his farm,” he said. “The next morning, they did chores and had a huge country breakfast. It really made an impact on the students.”
Frank and district superintendent David Hall are planning a rededication ceremony where a new tree will be planted for Jimison this spring, though no date has been set. He wants to reach out to those who shared stories and have a small reunion.
Frank has spoken to Jimison’s brother, John, who now lives in Virginia, and informed him of the plans to plant a new tree. John Jimison has reached out to his family members, including his mother, to let them know about the ceremony.
Frank said the family has shown interest in attending the rededication and has even given some thoughts about what kind of tree would best honor Bob.
“We are looking at planting a sugar maple tree, if that will grow there,” Frank said. “On their family farm, they had quite a number of those trees.”
Scott Mahoney can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @sm_mahoney on Twitter.