William Neal Hoadley
William Neal Hoadley, 92, died Sunday February 12, 2016 in Schenectady, New York following a brief illness.
He was born on October 12, 1924 in Rutland VT. the son of William O. and Gertrude K. Hoadley of Middletown Springs, VT. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by three sisters: Beverly Lannetti, Marian Jean Quinn, and Gail Bissonnette.
Neal served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and the Korean War. He graduated with a B.A. from Tufts University and a M.ED. from Boston University in Boston, MA., Neal was a member of Black River Lodge Masonic Lodge #85 and Bristol Libanus Lodge # 47. He was also a member of the Cairo Shriners.
Neal was a teacher in Ludlow VT, Lexington MA, Cabot High School, and Bristol VT where he taught math, was principal, and Superintendent of Mt. Abraham Union School. He was beloved by all of his students. After retirement He was employed by Brown-McClay Funeral Home for 20 years. He enjoyed golfing, dancing, skiing, Big band music and spending time with family and friends.
He is survived by his sister Ann Wetmore of Schenectady, New York and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be at the Bristol Federated Church in Bristol on Monday February 20, 2017 at 1:p.m. Interment will be in Middletown Springs in the spring. Contributions may be made in his memory to the Bristol Federated Church.
Tribute to Neal Hoadley
I deeply regret that I could not be with you all today to share in the celebration of the life of this great man. Ordinarily, I would have dropped everything to be with you today, but as luck would have it, Iâ€™m 6000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on the vacation of a lifetime. That I can afford such a trip stems from the success Iâ€™ve achieved and ironically that success traces in no small part to two former Bristol High School teachers, one of whom was Mr. W. Neal Hoadley.
It was almost 59 years ago in eighth grade that I first sat in Mr. Hoadleyâ€™s algebra class. His reputation preceded him of course.” A Stern, tough, no monkey business” all come to mind as I reflect back. Was he going to be my favorite teacher? Are you kidding? I had a good mind, but I was more socially than academically focused and when it came to studies I was kind of lazy. But Neal (as he later allowed me to call him) kind of turned me around because in his classes you could run but you couldn’t hide. No, I take that back. You could not run and you could not hide. If you didn’t do your homework, try sitting in the back row. Ha- ha- ha. He knew that game and called on you first. Don’t dose off either or youâ€™ll be awakened by the old eraser to the forehead shot. And Neal was amazing to watch. I can see him like it was yesterday. Strutting back and forth along the blackboard like an academic Mick Jagger (only Mick hadn’t been invented yet). “Does X + Y times 2 equal the square roots of 16″ he would ask. â€œYesâ€ I answered. â€œNevaaaahhhhh hoppensâ€ he would bellow out and I would feel like diving under my desk in shame. And, then there were those pop quizzes. If you came into class and he was writing on the blackboard you know you were in for it. Did I do my homework last night? â€œOh no, I was playing kickball in the parkâ€. But you know all the sternness was dished out with a great sense of humor so you couldn’t get too angry with the guy even when he showed you how badly you screwed up. Once a week he would start class by reading from his college newspaper column called On Campus. We all laughed about some guy named Greensleeves Sigafoos, a favorite character and then we got right down to business, but it made the class work go down easier somehow. Pure genius on his part. By the end of my second year with Mr. Hoadley there is no doubt I became a more focused student, probably because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. And a B or B+ grade from Neal was tougher to get than an A from most other teachers, believe me. Later, after 6 years of college I never did have a professor who equaled the ability of Neal Hoadley.
Happily when I took a challenging job on Madison Avenue, I was ready. I never did use much of the math he taught me, but I became pretty successful by following the “life lesson’s Neal was really teaching: “Do your work, know your facts, use your head, and never, ever be satisfied with anything less than excellence’s And oh yes”prepare for the unexpected” because real life is full of â€œpop quizzesâ€, isn’t it?
When I learned of Neal’s passing I felt very gratified that I had made a point of coming back to Bristol years after I graduated to thank him in person for how much he did for me and my classmates.
Want to know the mark of an outstanding educator and human being? Itâ€™s when a student who flunked one of his courses writes the following in the Free Press Condolences Column: â€œThanks for inspiring me to become a teacher and for being a lifetime friendâ€. And he so inspired many, many more to become teachers and to become successful in their lives.
So as I write this piece, getting teary from the sadness I feel, I must remind myself that I also should feel some sadness for those people who never met Neal Hoadley, never were helped by his gifted teaching, never heard his wisdom and never enjoyed his great sense of humor, because if you never met Neal, you really, really missed someone special. Thank you and Godspeed, Neal. You were one in a million.
BHS Class of “63
(Writing from Tahiti, French Polynesia)