Teacher of Teachers and Human Being Extraordinaire–Al Eidelman

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. 

Alan Eidelman (1943-2021)

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.

December 1981, American Studies surprised Mr. Eidelman by pitching in for a singing telegram on his birthday.

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.

May 1981 American Studies field trip to Grand Rapids (Al and John Dickinson, the class’s founding teachers top right)

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. 

Sandy and Al Eidelman who grew up just a few houses away from one another in Detroit.

Even after graduation, Al and Sandy welcomed the American Studies alumni into their Huntington Woods home for reunions.  

Reunion photo of American Studies at the Class of ’83 25th reunion (Al and John back row)

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.

Al, my mom Ann Walsh and Dianne Evans in the Clawson High School office.

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.

One of the first “Al Eidelman Fan Club” Zooms to be held with Al’s former students over the next 18 months, every other Sunday.

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.

High school buddy Steve Livingway (right) and I visiting Al after his diagnosis in March 2020–just days before the world locked-down. Steve left Al’s class to become an outstanding middle school principal in Hartland, Michigan.

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.

Funeral and memorial information for Al.

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About Kevin Walsh

Kevin began MyMediaDiary.com in 2013 as an experiment that was as simple as "What's a blog?" and ended up becoming a forum for fellow writers. He's been a high school teacher for 28 years and worked as an administrator and instructor in colleges for 6. Contact him at: kevin@mymediadiary.com He is also the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at www.mmdphotovideo.com which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His high school media production text, "Video Direct," has been used in 40 states--and he occasionally still sells a few. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two kids Aidan and Abby who have all graciously allowed him to write about them on occasion. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kwteacher