7 Minute Miles Header

RIP: Mr. Demers 1940 – 2021 ๐Ÿ’œ

Posted February 29, 2024

Earlier this week, I came across a picture of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Fox. Decided to fire up Duck Duck Go and see if I could find any information on what happened to her after Randolph Heights. Since online search in 2024 is terrible, couldn’t find anything. Just for kicks, I decided to search for my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Demers. Unfortunately, I found his obituary from 2021:

Richard Demers, Age 81, of Nashua, NH Died Thursday August 20, 2021 at Langdon Place after having faced the ravages of Alzheimer’s over the past several years. Born May 7, 1940 in Somersworth, NH, he was son of the late Ernest and Florence (Perreault) Demers and was predeceased by one son, Leonard, one sister, Pauline and one brother, Edward. Richard was a former high school history teacher for the St. Paul Public School System in Minnesota. He also served in the United States Army and Air Force National Guard. A vibrant man, Richard lived a connected life to his community – be it in the North Woods of MN at his beloved Woman Lake, the East Side of St Paul, or his daughter’s NH porch. He loved gardening (grew all of his own vegetables), fishing from his 1970 little green boat, snow mobiling with the old guys, travel (without a cell phone or credit card), long walks with his German Shepherds, reading history, DQ hot fudge sundaes, an provocative debate over a good cup of coffee, the Boston Red Sox, and most especially his four grandchildren. Survivors include Nicole Gates (daughter) and her husband Chuck, Louis Demers (son), Louise Ader (sister), and Isabelle and Jackson Gates and Deacon and Dominic Demers (grandchildren). SERVICES: There are no visiting hours. A private graveside service will be held at Forest Glade Cemetery in Somersworth, NH at the convenience of the family. The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH 03064 is in charge of arrangements. davisfuneralhomenh.com (603) 883-3401. Published by Pioneer Press on Aug. 24, 2021.

How ironic that the person that instilled my love of history had so many things written here that I never learned until now. We all knew he lived on the East Side and had a son named Louis, but DQ hot fudge sundaes? Boston Red Sox? Woman Lake? Oh, to have another provocative debate now with the inventor of the OTE.

Speaking of opportunities to excel, so many great comments on the legacy.com page from former Saint Paul Central students:

Mr. Demers did for me what ever teacher hopes they can do--he changed my life. He was the first person who made me feel like a scholar. (I can still hear him starting each class with, "Good morning, scholars!" in his Boston accent.) I went on to get my Ph.D. and write many books, and it all started with the confidence he gave me during a crucial time in my life. My only regret is that I never told him thank you while he was still alive. Thank you, Mr. Demers!

What a beautiful tribute to Mr. Demers. I think I took every single class he taught--he made me a better stu-dent, and he is most certainly one of the people who inspired the way I teach today. I remember more of the work I did in his classes than in most of the MANY classes I had since then. He was a smart, funny, caring teacher and I am grateful that he gave that to us as students. My condolences on your loss, Demers family.

The impact Mr. Demers had on me and so many is in-delible. We were not students, but "scholars." Tests were "opportunities to excel." His lectures were vivid, enrapturing, and a bit irreverent. What stays with me the most is that he expected excellence. He never treated us as precious or fragile; we had brilliance within us, certainly beyond what many of us thought possible. We had to work to reveal it. His teaching reminds me to this day that each one of us will reveal our brilliance to those who believe in us. Rest in peace, Mr. Demers. Your spirit is alive within so many of us.

The best compliment he gave on essays was Nice - if you got a nice you were over the moon. The worst was Unfortunate. An unfortunate made you want the ground to swallow you up. He graded on a curve (people loved or HATED that, but it sometimes helped all of us when he gave a particularly difficult essay test and we all bombed it) and gave out exactly one A+ per class. The fact that I got the A+ in Western Civ my senior year is probably my proudest high school accomplishment. Rest in peace, scholar.

I took every history class I could with him, including an independent study I did on the history of classical music (with him serving as advisor). American Experience. Ancient Civilizations. Western Civilizations. All wonderful. All highly impactful on my life and the person I’ve become. He taught me about the Harvard Book and I almost went there because of him.

Writing notes in the borders of the history books he had us read led to my marriage to Demers classmate Colleen, who commented to me after seeing this news, “I cannot fathom that vast intellect being ravaged by Alzheimerโ€™s disease. Heartbreaking.”

After seeing what that horrible disease did to my grandmother, my sincere condolences go out to his family. Please know that Mr. Demers positively impacted many, many lives of students in Minnesota and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be one of his scholars.


flourish icon

Time Machine albums

Pic posted February 29, 2024

Some albums just magically transport me back to another time in my life – here are a few samples from Prince, Sting, Suzanne Vega and Tom Petty


flourish icon

Richard Thompson PSA: Ship to Shore drops 5/31

Pic posted February 29, 2024

Still no Minnesota tour dates, but first song streaming now (Singapore Sadie)


flourish icon

Grizzlies in the crib ๐Ÿ€

Pic posted February 28, 2024

What a nice looking backup shot clock – fantastic job by the crew
Another home team W, 110-101


flourish icon

Nova Bar Burgers with SK ๐Ÿ”

Pic posted February 28, 2024

Thanks, Splinter, for the quick getaway break


flourish icon

Bobblehead Legends

Pic posted February 28, 2024

Ant (and Ant Jr.), along with the JP of the Timberwolves


flourish icon

Savory Chili WcDonald’s Sauce ๐ŸŸ

Pic posted February 28, 2024

Tried the clown’s new, limited edition nuggie sauce – spicy Chinese takeout vibes ๐Ÿ‘


flourish icon

Link: NFLPA Minnesota Vikings Report Card ๐Ÿˆ

Linked February 28, 2024


flourish icon

It’s cookies for dinner time again

Pic posted February 27, 2024

My usual “one sleeve at a time” addiction continues


flourish icon

Hello, City Court, nice to meet you ๐Ÿ€

Pic posted February 27, 2024

Victor Wembanyama is a big, big boy
Home team W, 114-105


flourish icon

I’ve seen the rains of the real world come forward on the plain. I’ve seen the Kansas of your sweet little myth…

— True Dreams of Wichita

Quote posted February 27, 2024


flourish icon

Porzana visit #2

Pic posted February 26, 2024

It appears all of the issues from Porzana visit #1 have been resolved. The place was packed and SK and I had a great time…


flourish icon

2024 Minnesota PGA Foundation Pro-Am

Pic posted February 26, 2024

End of an era – the Tapemark is NO MOR


flourish icon

Have you lost your brain marbles, babe?

— Jeff the Unicorn

Quote posted February 26, 2024


flourish icon

Zamboni in the crib

Pic posted February 26, 2024

This bad boy is back in storage now, but it was fun to see it in action earlier this month


flourish icon

Air Supply @ Mystic Lake

Posted February 25, 2024


flourish icon

Spring Skiing in February

Pic posted February 25, 2024

Finally got out today @ Welch Village with MK and it felt like my old Schweitzer spring break days


flourish icon

Kellyโ€™s Bar in Red Wing, Minnesota

Pic posted February 25, 2024

One of the better burgers Iโ€™ve had in a while ๐Ÿ‘


flourish icon

I was singin’ like a stone in Red Wing, Minnesota. In a bar called Kelly’s right next to the trainโ€ฆ

— Kellyโ€™s Bar

Quote posted February 25, 2024


flourish icon

Special Delivery!

Pic posted February 24, 2024

From your friends at the Arctic Atelier @TwoDots


flourish icon

The boys were back in town ๐ŸŽถ

Pic posted February 24, 2024

Russell and Graham still have it ๐Ÿ’ฏ


flourish icon

With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin’ kinda older, I tripped the merry-go-round. With this very unpleasin’, sneezin’ and wheezin’ the calliope crashed to the ground…

— Blinded by the Light

Quote posted February 24, 2024


flourish icon

All Creatures Great and Small S4 โœ…

Pic posted February 24, 2024

Wish these seasons were longer – six + a bonus is not enough


flourish icon

Old doge, new trick

Pic posted February 24, 2024

What the hell, Luna?


flourish icon

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Timberwolves ๐Ÿ€

Pic posted February 23, 2024

Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the crib, late night special (and first game with the new shot clocks)
Cheeseheads with the W, 112-107


flourish icon