I lost two very special people during the month of October. My dad on October 15th, and a special mentor, Jim Fluckey, on October 7th. Mr. Fluckey (as we called him in high school) was my first French teacher. I had him for three years of French at West High School in Denver. Mr. Fluckey was also the music teacher and director of the concert choir. I was fortunate to be accepted to the concert choir which meant I got to sing in West High's Singing Christmas Tree for two years. Those were some of the best years of my life.
I also participated in two of the three "alumni" Christmas Tree concerts in 1982 and 2004. Furthermore, I was a French major in college, and when it came time to do my student teaching, I went back to West High and served as student teacher in French under Mr. Fluckey. Following that year, I moved to Paris and stayed for six years. I think Mr. Fluckey finally forgave me for having a better accent in French than he did.
We stayed in touch ever since I graduated from West High in 1967 - most recently when we talked via Skype from my apartment in Paris to his room at the Hospice of St. John in Lakewood. Jim Fluckey passed away on October 7th. He was 88 years old. I arrived in Denver in time to attend a memorial service for him on October 17th. I met his children and grandchildren for the first time, and also reconnected with many old friends - both students and teachers from West High. I'll miss Jim Fluckey. He was my mentor, and a big reason that I live in France.
Here is a short video that you can watch on YouTube commemorating our final alumni concert in 2004: