by Amanda Hills
Mr. Norm Walker, a teacher and football coach at this school from 1960-1985, died Monday, Aug. 22 after a three-year fight with brain cancer. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Walker had a legendary coaching style. Former English teacher George Bower said, “He was an outstanding coach. He was very thoughtful but very forceful at the same time. He was strong-willed and didn’t take any bologna from anyone. I admired the way he got the most out of his players.”
His passion continued off the field as well, where he was an esteemed member of the English department. Bower noted, “No matter what students or people thought of him, they respected him. He had an enormous amount of friends.”
As a colleague, Bower looked up to Mr. Walker. He said, “He had a lot of knowledge, and he was an honest guy, so I would go to him for advice––he was always available and easy to go to.”
Bower said he pictures Mr. Walker in two settings: on the football field and in the classroom. “He was the rare combination of a great English teacher and an outstanding coach.”
Having co-taught a junior honors class with Mr. Walker for one year, former English teacher and adviser for this newspaper Helen Smith saw how genuinely he loved teaching.
“He loved to teach all kinds of classes. He could find the spark in any group. He’d come out of a class and say, ‘That was a really great group,’” she recalls.
In 1976, Mr. Walker won the Charles Dana Meserve Award. This award for excellence in teaching is given to a teacher who goes above and beyond for his or her students.
Smith said, “He was a genius. He took a tremendous amount of interest in his students. He always wanted his students to go beyond where they had been. On the field, in the classroom or just in life.”
A funeral mass was held for Mr. Walker Friday, Aug. 26 at St. Michael’s Church in Exeter, New Hampshire.