John Lewis Haley Bobo | The Claremont COURIER
Influential educator, former principal of Sycamore Primary School
John Lewis Bobo, former principal of Sycamore Elementary School, passed away peacefully at his home in Claremont on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. He was 85 years old.
Mr. Bobo was born January 24, 1935 in Hamilton, Alabama, to Haley Lewis Bobo and Rudie Gann Bobo. Rudie taught in a one-room school until his marriage. Haley later opened a grocery store in Florence, Alabama, where young John worked making deliveries by bike. From his early years, John made friends everywhere he went.
In high school, he ran athletics, played basketball and football, and performed in the drama club. A natural athlete, he also excelled at golf, racquetball and tennis. As a high school student, he was one of two young men chosen to represent Alabama at the American Legion Boys Nation, a week-long government training program in Washington DC.
He was then recruited to play football for the University of Tennessee. However, after playing for one season, a knee injury brought him home to Florence State Teacher’s College (now the University of North Alabama), where he met his classmate Ruth Ann Moultrie. After getting married on July 8, 1956, the young couple moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and received their bachelor’s degree from Howard College (now Samford University).
They moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Mr. Bobo attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary while Ms. Bobo obtained a Masters in English from Tulane University. By the time they moved to Mobile, Alabama so that Mr. Bobo could serve as a youth pastor, he had cultivated a love for Dixieland jazz, as well as a tendency to stand up and dance every time. that the rhythm hit him.
In the 1960s, the young couple moved to California, where they had two children, Elizabeth Noelle Bobo and Brian Lewis Bobo. After obtaining an M.Ed. of California State University, Los Angeles, Mr. Bobo taught at Azusa and was Deputy Principal of the Charter Oak Unified School District before being appointed Principal of Sycamore Elementary School in Claremont.
During Principal Bobo’s tenure at Sycamore School, he enthusiastically encouraged a diverse cohort of teachers as they implemented innovative pedagogies, including multicultural education, mixed classrooms, and empowering those with abilities. varied.
As former Sycamore teacher Terry Kneisler recalls, “Principal Bobo was a maverick administrator. He has shaped a culture of cooperation and development of the child as a whole, and he has never shied away from the possibility of the innate greatness of each child.
Around this time, Mr Bobo and his family took a summer trip to England, where he visited classrooms and consulted with teachers and principals who put the progressive educational theories of Summerhill School into practice in the Suffolk. He was inspired by these new ideas and worked closely with teachers at Sycamore to create rewarding, unrestricted educational experiences in and out of the classroom.
Mr. Bobo’s belief in Sycamore and his love of community have inspired many people to choose Claremont as a place to settle and raise their children. For example, her in-laws, the Moultrie family — Dan, Carly, Melissa and Emily — moved to Claremont because of their belief that Sycamore was unique. Carly Moultrie remembers how much her daughters benefited from the broad-minded vision Mr. Bobo nurtured at Sycamore. He wanted students to improve on what is unique in themselves, in their community and in the world in which they live.
He encouraged students to develop local and global citizenship. He was responsible for facilitating traditions such as the International Day, during which students were exposed to cultures, art and music from around the world. He also created links between the school and the community. He invited professors from Claremont colleges to speak, organized trips to the Padua Hills Theater, and brought students to school board meetings to foster audience engagement. “He made sure that teachers could take their students to popular field trips to the Folk Music Center, and often musicians followed with classroom tours,” said Ellen Harper. He was committed to more than the basics of education.
Mr. Bobo’s energy and leadership were at the heart not only of the teaching methods still in use at Sycamore, but also of its very existence today. In 1976, after the school board voted to close Sycamore, Mr. Bobo joined in the successful recall of the board members and the school remained open. Sycamore alumnus and current school board member Bob Fass recalls, “Mr. Bobo was an integral part of my education in Claremont as a student and valued member of our district administration. I fondly remember how he greeted each Sycamore student by name and created a warm sense of belonging. Mr. Bobo’s cooperation with students, parents and teachers has been crucial in preserving Sycamore Elementary and its legacy over the past 45 years.
Church, family and friends were also central to Mr. Bobo’s life. The inclusive and ecumenical nature of the Claremont Presbyterian Church appealed to Mr. Bobo’s character. As a CCP deacon, he contributed to the administrative and social life of the congregation, including calling parishioners, welcoming newcomers, attending family camp, and churning homemade ice cream for the social activities of the Church. church.
A devoted father, he provided his children with fun and fulfilling experiences and unconditional support as they grew and reached their goals. He went on scout trips with Brian and rode camels with Liza in Egypt. He took his family on an annual trip to Mammoth Mountain and the Colorado River, where he taught his children how to snow and water ski. Her constant involvement with her friends and family and the inclusion of Maison Bobo, which was often a gathering place for people of all ages and backgrounds, provided friends, resources and emotional support for her children thrive.
Each year, the Bobos took a road trip to Florence, Alabama, where his parents and other family members still resided. Those summer vacations, which included farm and garden maintenance and swimming in the Tennessee River, were idyllic times for the whole family. Although Mr. Bobo left his native Alabama, he retained his Southern charm throughout his life. He has always shown hospitality in welcoming friends and strangers. People who knew him remembered his extraordinary interest and commitment to everyone he met.
Mr. Bobo’s love for helping people led him to a third career. In the 1980s, he trained to be a deep tissue therapist and successfully started a new practice. During this time, he met adventurous Adele Gadge Johnson, and the two tied the knot on her birthday in 1988. The couple attended holistic health workshops across the country and in China. Together with Brian, they launched the first local Internet service provider in Claremont, Cyberg8t. Their love of vacations and celebrations left countless memories for their fused family. As they retired, they attended meetings to reconnect with friends and extended family. Married for more than 30 years, Mr. and Mrs. Bobo will both remember the generosity they showed towards their loved ones. They have helped a lot to pursue their dreams.
Mr. Bobo was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, when his son Brian returned to California to care for him and Ms. Bobo. True to the true John Bobo spirit, Brian took the aging couple on trips to Chicago, Louisiana and Hawaii. They spent six weeks with Mr. Bobo’s cousin in Namibia. During his later years, as throughout his life, Mr. Bobo maintained an energetic pleasure to be with people and to have new experiences. His family, friends, colleagues, students, clients and most importantly his children continue to benefit from the joyful spirit he has brought into their lives.
Mr. Bobo was predeceased by his parents; Sister Joan Hall; and his former wife, Ruth Moultrie Bobo of Claremont. His wife, Adele Gadge Bobo, passed away on August 28, 2020.
Mr. Bobo is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Jane Bobo McCloskey and David McCloskey; daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Elizabeth Bobo, Michael Petersen and Henry Lewis Petersen; son Brian Lewis Bobo and partner Deborah Taylor; stepson Sander Johnson and stepdaughter Julie Storozynsky; step-grandchildren Kjel Johnson, Azura Storozynsky, Tara Storozynsky, Eula Johnson and Jia Johnson; sister-in-law Carly Moultrie; as well as his many beloved nephews and nieces.
A memorial service will be held at the Claremont Presbyterian Church, 1111 N. Mountain Ave., at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday August 15. Everyone is welcome.