On December 5, 2021 of one of the greatest men in my life left behind an extraordinary legacy of love and acceptance–Mr. Alan Eidelman–Clawson High School social studies teacher.
His love of teaching, students, laughter and pure acceptance of everyone he met truly left a permanent impact on thousands of Clawson students, many who became teachers because of him, as well as the students from Academy of the Sacred Heart (his longtime retirement teaching position) and for busloads of students who were so moved by his tours at the Holocaust Memorial Center.
I first noticed him in the hallway on my way to lunch as a ninth grader, where I picked up the most important centering-skill I ever took with me as a teacher; he loved to chat with anyone walking by, truly caring, listening and teasing gently, making us all feel welcome. Whenever I was feeling stressed as a classroom teacher, I’d remember Al and step into the hall for a morale-boosting recharge from some random kid walking by. That connection impressed me so that then and there knew I had to take his class.
With John Dickinson and Principal C. Robert Maxfield in 1981, Al created a two hour block class, American Studies, which blended English and History into an engaging and fun end of each day. It showed me the importance of teamwork, flexibility and the relevance of the past to the present.
Even after graduation, Al and Sandy welcomed the American Studies alumni into their Huntington Woods home for reunions.
Through the years, he always attended our ’83 reunions and shared laughs with us–anxious for updates on our kids (and grandkids). His children we’ve seen grow up and become amazing professionals and parents and he couldn’t be more proud. When my mom, Ann Walsh Quinn, took over in the CHS attendance office in 1986, she and Al became close friends and that meant so much to us all–I can still feel his big hug at my dad’s funeral in 1997.
After his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer nearly two years ago, he was up for continuing his networking with his students and we enjoyed a bi-weekly Zoom chat through Sunday just two weeks ago with his dear friend and colleague the amazing Marilyn Nathanson.
He was the first to sign-on and the last to sign-off, which summed him up completely. He was always so excited to see who was going to pop in, especially my mom and sisters–quick to divert the attention away from himself after he gave us an update.
I love you Mr. Eidelman–you’ve changed my life and continue to do so and may your family be supported during this difficult time.