A rare illness may have forced a longtime Summit High School teacher back to his native Pennsylvania, but the passing of David Paul McBride Jr. is still being felt in Colorado.
“He was a teacher for countless hundreds of us who live here now and lived here in the past,” said former student Susan Fairweather. “He became a mentor and a friend to many of us and we all think he was way ahead of his time as a teacher.
“He really had the gift of teaching and the ability to touch people’s lives like no one you’ve ever met. He will be missed by so many of us.”
On Thursday, McBride died in New Castle, Pa., due to complications from lung transplant surgery. McBride was battling Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that can attack any organ, but is most commonly found in the lungs and lymph nodes.
He was 65.
On Monday family, friends, students and colleagues remembered McBride, who moved to the High Country in the early 1970s to teach English at Summit High School, where he spent his entire 33-year career.
McBride earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, where he also was a classmate of Pres. Bill Clinton, before traveling west to earn his master’s in teaching from the University of Denver.
When McBride arrived on the scene in 1971, Jon Kreamelmeyer was already a veteran of the Summit High School English department, having arrived just one year earlier. It would be safe to say the two young teachers hit it off, Kreamelmeyer said.
Although McBride was a dedicated teacher, Kreamelmeyer said he was first struck by the budding teacher’s sense of humor.
“David was a wonderful teacher, no doubt about it, but he was a really funny guy too,” Kreamelmeyer said. “He had a very dry sense of humor and had an ability to always find humor in any situation.”
Professionally, Kreamelmeyer said McBride was a strong writer and authored the 1984 book “Federal Duck Stamps: A Complete Guide” in honor of 50 years of federal wetlands conservation.
Although authoring a book would be a crowning achievement for any writer, Kreamelmeyer said McBride was most proud of his work with his students; particularly an early release program he created to help ensure traveling athletes could stay on track with their education.
McBride’s brother, Dr. Duncan McBride, M.D., associate clinical professor and chief of neurosurgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, echoed many of the sentiments raised by Kreamelmeyer and Fairweather, but said his brother will always be defined by those more eclectic characteristics only close friends and family get the chance to see.
“My brother was a great collector and his log cabin (in Pennsylvania) is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen; it’s like a museum,” Duncan said. “He collected everything from oriental weavings, stain glass windows, art and coins to hunting memorabilia, knives and bronze hunting statues.”
The outpouring of support the McBride family has received from Summit County residents has been nothing short of humbling, Duncan said, and that love affair is more than mutual.
“He loved it up there,” Duncan said. “He moved up there right out of college and I’m sure he’d still be there if his oxygen needs weren’t so great because of the Sarcoidosis. It’s a big loss for all of us to lose David.”
David Paul McBride Jr. was preceded in death by his parents, David P. McBride Sr. and Jeanne C. McBride. He is survived by his sisters, Tudor Austin and Terril McBride-Unks, and his brothers, Dr. Duncan Q. McBride and Douglas B. McBride, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be no calling hours and memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Lung Rehabilitation Program at Jameson Memorial Hospital, 1211 Wilmington Road, New Castle, PA 16101. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Noga Funeral Home, Inc. 1142 S. Mill St. in New Castle.
“He really had the gift of teaching and the ability to touch people’s lives like no one you’ve ever met. He will be missed by so many of us.” — Susan Fairweather, former student at Summit High School