It seemed more fitting than a funeral: What organizers expect to be a spectacular tribute this weekend will try to reflect the impact that the late, legendary Harold Bloom had on Hackensack High School and beyond.
The celebration of Bloom’s life scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 27, in the auditorium of the school where “Hal” served as principal for 22 years.
Members of the sending districts of Maywood, Rochelle Park and South Hackensack will join the city Board of Education, the Bloom family and close friends, returning students and colleagues.
All will testify to Bloom’s good humor, his mastery at leading by example, his willingness to listen and much more.
Music, photos and videos will be shared – along with presentations by current school staff and students and a performance by an a capella choir.
Bloom died this past Jan. 14 of aspiration complications. He was 89.
Flags were lowered to half-staff in both Hackensack and Maywood – memorials to the enormous impact he had on the area.
Bloom did nothing to dispel his reputation when he battled a neuro virus, pneumonia, abdominal blockage and bone marrow cancer several years earlier – and won.
“He was an absolute miracle,” said his daughter, Linda Bloom. “All of his doctors said they could not believe how strong he was....Mom says dad was an absolute enigma.”
Born in the Bronx, Bloom was the first in his generation of ancestors to complete high school, doing so in three years in order to join the military. He served in the United States Army Medical Corp as a medical laboratory technician from 1946–1947.
Bloom later enrolled at NYU under the GI Bill after meeting his future wife, Rita, who, according to his obituary, “insisted that she would only date someone with career goals and a college education.”
The two were married in 1950 and, seven years later, moved to Maywood, where Rita continues to reside.
Together, they raised two daughters -- Linda and Heidi (Bloom) Cislo – and a son, Steven. All three were graduated from Hackensack High School.
“Hal” began his teaching career in HHS after receiving his Master of Arts from NYU in 1953. He was appointed social studies department chairman in 1963 and assistant principal in 1967.
He became HHS principal in 1970 and remained so until his retirement in 1992.
It was “a tremendous period of growth and change” in the city school system, and Bloom was its guiding light, family members said.
Amid many more accomplishments, Bloom was a career education coordinator for federally funded programs that became models for hundreds of districts nationwide. Hackensack was one of only six districts throughout the U.S. to participate.
READ MORE: Harold "Hal" Bloom Obituary
While principal at HHS, Bloom helped produce the First Street Bridge, which was named in his honor in 2015 for his 39 years of service to the school and the extended community.
"His humor, wisdom, and integrity were legendary,” fellow educator and city resident Sue Jackson said. “He will be sorely missed and impossible to replace."
"He was a very good man, a gentle soul who loved everyone’s children and made all children feel important," added Camille Hornes.
"He was an amazing principal," Angela Posillico said. "It was an honor to be one of his students."
"Dad never forgot his HHS kids," Linda Bloom said. "They flanked his bedside at HUMC, telling [him] stories of what year they graduated, their classes, homerooms, grandchildren if he was their teacher, or ranking as an athlete."
As a Maywood councilman, Bloom played a significant role in building the borough library and municipal pool. He later became president of the Maywood Public Library Board of Directors, managing a multi-million dollar budget, and served the school district in a variety of ways.
Bloom continued to give back in retirement, with warmth and good humor, loved ones said. Memories of those days will be shared Saturday at the school he so loved -- with those who so loved him.
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