Saturday, September 20, 2014

In Memory of a Great Man

Many of us lost a great man this week as Jim "Doc" Carlin left this world. Doc was one of my favorite, most influential teachers at Mainland High School and then became a colleague and friend as I returned to my alma mater to teach. His premature departure leaves a void that won't be easily filled even though the thousands he influenced will do our best to carry on his legacy.

Doc was a giant of man in physical stature and also in influence and intellect. While I have always loved reading it was his passion (and his deceased wife Betsy's) that spurred mine to greater heights. While "teaching" may have been his profession it was obvious that this was a calling for him and not merely an occupation. Even though it has been 25 years since I sat in his classroom, I can still see him gesticulating as he enthusiastically shared the beauty of literature and challenged our thinking as well. Doc worked tirelessly to shape us and open our minds to see the hidden treasures of books and most importantly, the life lessons they contained. His authentic desire to be a blessing was obvious to me even as a scrawny, immature senior and even more so as the years went by. 

He supported all of us in our endeavors and showed up at theater performances and athletic events to cheer us all on. While he may have come across to some as gruff, it was evident that it was truly love for us all and his desire to see us find our best. As fellow educators I was privileged to see another side of Doc as he stood up against injustices and fought for what was right. I watched as he refused to settle for the status quo and always persevered for the best for students, teachers, and our school. It was a reflection of his consistent character and concern for others. I always felt like I was part of his family and I know I don't stand alone in that sentiment.

He was passionately articulate, deeply compassionate, remarkably intelligent, and humbly gentle. I am grateful for his influence and greatly saddened by our loss. I am a better reader, student, teacher, thinker, and man because of him. Others may write and speak more fluently about him than I am capable of doing. Nevertheless, I knew that I had to do my best to simply fulfill what he always charged us with and "Put words on paper!" 

Thank you for everything, my good friend. Enjoy God's rest. 


  1. Well said, Craig.

    1. Thank you my friend. He & Betsy were a wonderfully unique couple. I miss them both.