As some of you know I had a brother, James Anthony pass away recently. For those of you who knew of the news I appreciate so much the thoughts, prayers, and messages of encouragement. My wife and I were honored to have been his caretakers the last few months of his life. However, my purpose is not to discuss his illness but his impact as an educator as a special education teacher for 27 years.
I want to give you just a little background about my brother before I get started. He was a passionate Arkansas Razorback fan, loved everything Disney (he visited Disney World 20 times), a passionate educator, and a wonderful brother!
During his visitation we were inundated with great memories and stories of those who had worked with and knew him while growing up and his time as an educator as well. He loved to joke around and that was obvious by the stories people told during that time as well as messages that were shared with me by friends and co-workers.
There were a couple of moments that resonated with me more than others that night. One particular visitor that night was a mother of one of his students. His name is Brandon. Brandon’s mother told me she just wanted to pay her respects to Mr. Anthony. She went on to say it showed how much he cared about his students and how he much he cared for Brandon and the patience he showed.
There was another instance that night that resonated with me as well. A young boy and his parents arrived shortly before the visitation was hours were complete. He was a sixth grade student in my brother’s class. I spoke with him even though he wasn’t very talkative. It was obvious he was uncomfortable with the situation and circumstances. He had requested his parents bring him to the visitation. He told his mother I need to see him. She went on to tell me how great a teacher her son thought Mr. Anthony was and how nice he was. She made a statement that made the most impact for me in all of the wonderful things that were said about my brother during this time. She told me, “Mr. Anthony definitely had an impact on my son’s life!”
As an educator, there is no greater compliment. My brother was a great person and my best friend. I will miss him. I think his colleagues and most importantly his students will miss him as well.