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Letter: In Memory of John Broza

On July 26, we who live and learn in Port lost one of our most ardent supporters: John Broza, longtime chairperson of the Schreiber English Department. John was larger than life, brilliant, talented, yet humble. He imbued his students with a love and understanding of Shakespeare that they will carry all their lives. Yet John was equally devoted to teaching incoming freshmen.

John’s vast knowledge went beyond books; he lived his subject. He quoted Shakespeare freely; he seemed to carry the entire Shakespearean repertoire with him. Shakespeare’s birthday celebration, which John began, became a grand affair, bringing the Bard to life for students.

In addition to his many talents, John was a “regular” guy, so down-to-earth that it would have been easy to take his special gifts for granted. He quietly spent much of his vacation in the English office, writing college references for students or tending to business. During spring break, he escorted students on personalized trips to England. He supervised Schreiber’s yearbook staff in the late afternoon and also announced Schreiber’s sports and graduations. Once-upon-a-time, when English teachers were becoming computer-literate, John had the enthusiasm for early morning coaching sessions in the office.

In what spare time he had, John lived. He was a winning contestant on many quiz shows and referred to himself as “Lucky John.” His greatest prize was his signature red Mustang convertible, sporting the license plate SHAKESPR. He occasionally treated students to lifts, which they had bid on in yearbook auctions or earned in other ways.

I had the pleasure of working with and for John until his retirement in 2000. On his last day at school we shared our love and respect… and our tears. We never thought we would lose him completely. Now, we will carry his memory in our hearts. John leaves his wonderful wife Micki, his three sons, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who carry his name.

Please remember John. To quote Shakespeare: “This was a man.”

Marian Cheris, retired Schreiber English teacher