On Monday, Apr. 10, we celebrated the life of Mr. James Kaehlert, who lost his valiant battle with cancer on Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017. A beloved Cushing faculty member, coach, and advisor since 2008, James inspired the lives of countless Penguins and made tremendous contributions to the Cushing family and to our local community. He is dearly missed.
Cushing students, faculty, and staff -- most wearing blue, for colon cancer awareness – welcomed James’ family, friends, and many other guests to the Watkins Field House to pay tribute to James through memories, reflections, words of gratitude, and a theme common throughout his life: determination. Since learning the news of his diagnosis last spring, James, along with his wife Heather and children Samuel and Abigail, lived by a motto that has spread far and wide: Live your life. Do what makes you happy. Make memories.
As all who are privileged to have known him can attest, he took these words to heart with fierce determination, cherishing every moment of life and everyone around him. That determination has left a profound and lasting impression upon the Cushing family and beyond. We are so very grateful.
Below is a poem written for the occasion by Dr. Norm Carey, a longtime Cushing faculty member. We share it here to honor James and the many gifts he gave and continues to give.
On the Death of a Teacher
-by Dr. Norman Carey
He asked nothing of anyone except to be of use,
Holding at bay his life outside the classroom
Until he could embrace that life when his day was done.
Like most teachers, his time was not his own,
But belonged to the children who sat before him,
Expecting him to give of himself all that he had,
A gift that, because they were his children too,
They believed they had the right to receive.
He did not begrudge them that assumption,
And truth be told, he loved to supply the knowledge,
The care, the help they needed without even knowing.
They in return gave him their youth, their energy,
Their joy in being young and bursting with health.
His health, as it turned out, was ebbing like the tide,
Leaving his ravaged body to face the coming darkness,
But leaving his soul untouched, its strength and beauty
Fed daily by the students who had their own gift to give,
Making him, their teacher, rich beyond imagining.
Please click here for James’ obituary and information on an educational fund established for his two young children.