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Dr. Geissinger Remembers

Hexum Memorial Service: John B. Geissinger, Superintendent, Tenafly Public Schools, 1956-1976

Good evening, friends of Jack Hexum. 

As we are gathered here to mourn Jack's untimely passing, we are comforted by many pleasant memories.  Let's share some of them, and , as we share them, my few remarks will be very personal.
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said: "Lives of great men all remind us wecan make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints in the sands of time."
 
We are not here tonight to say that Jack was a great man, but we do feel that he has left his mark on us -- if you will -- footprints in the sands of time. 

It's not necessary to mention Jack's successes on TV and the movies.  We watched with great pride every episode of "Cover Up" and said proudly, "we knew him."
 
The Class of 1976 was one of my favorites.  You young people entered school in 1963, five years after I arrived in Tenafly, and were graduated the year I retired, and made your mark each year.  In your Senior year, you elected Jack Hexum as your Class President.  He served as the first male cheerleader, was drum major of the HS Band, organized the "First HS Lack of talent Show".  Distressed at the defacing of the Field House roof, as Senior Class President, he organized the first official class painting of the Tenafly tiger with the class numerals.
 
He was active in all dramatic and musical productions; he had the lead in "Pajama Game" and was instrumental in conducting programs on the HS radio -- WTHS. 
 
On a personal note, in my 18 years as Superintendend of Schools in tenafly and a good many years in schools elsewhere, I have seldom, if ever, had a student with so varied interests, such a fine personality, so unselfish in helping make the school better.  He was a De Molay, as I was years ago.  he was one of the best -- we shall miss him.
 
I remember Jack between the halves of a football game in my last year as Superintendent, when he presented me with gifts from the band -- a band jacket and a picture.  At commencement exercises, he presented me with a class ring, and in turn, I presented him with the first scholarship award from the HS Scholarship Fund set up in my honor by the Student Council.   I am wearing the ring and I have a copy of the commencement program.
 
I remember the block party he and his mother arranged in front of their home after commencement.  Jack returned to the HS many times since he was graduated, sang X-mas carols with his friends, and kept in touch by phone with classmates and teachers.
 
All of us, THS, and the community are better off because Jack Hexum touched our lives and left his footprints.
 
I hope that it may not be considered sacrilegious in this setting to paraphrase, in closing, a passage from the Broadway show, "Cats", entitled "Memories":

"Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I remember the time I knew what happiness was.
Let the memory live again."
 
Let the memory of Jon-Erik Hexum live again and forever with us.
 
 
--- Dr. John B. Geissinger,
Superintendent, Tenafly Public Schools
1956-1976
Jon-Erik Hexum Memorial,
Thursday, November 15, 1984
Demarest United Methodist Church,
Demarest, New Jersey
 
 


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