Letter: Former Wilton Teacher Remembers Thomas Nessel

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To The Editor: 

In September 1964, I began my teaching career in the Social Studies Department of Wilton High School. As I awaited the ninth-graders in European History to arrive for the last period of the day, a young man walked through the door, ducking as he entered. As I was also to be junior varsity basketball coach, I asked him if he was a player. He shyly replied that he loved the game and would appreciate the opportunity to learn. That was my introduction to Tom Nessel.

Over my two years in Wilton and then occasionally as our paths parted, I came to know Tom as a gifted and committed student, an athlete with both passion for the game and mature perspective of its importance, and a man of great dignity and integrity. We shared life?s highs and lows, especially our mutual passion for the game of golf. I returned to Wilton for the class of 1968?s 25th reunion and thrilled with the range of success of Tom and his classmates and was proud that several shared that I had played a small role in their educational lives.

Most memorable, however, were the hours that Tom and I spent in his back yard hitting sand wedges and musing on the ways of a world seemingly so different from that of the mid-60s.

Over the past few years Tom fell increasingly into ill health. Our friendship continued and I came to recognize his perspective and courage as a great gift to me and others. His identity was grounded in family, in Georgetown and Wilton, and In the values that all good teachers hope to see as their students grow and prosper. Now in the days after his passing I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to have shared in a truly exceptional life.

Larry Dyhrberg Falmouth, Maine 04105  

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