Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OBITUARY - Mr Eugene Almeida

Mr Eugene Almeida
(1936-2008)
An article written by Brother Vincent Corkery
"I first met Mr Eugene Almeida in January 1965 when he was transferred from St Michael’s School in Alor Star back to his old school, St Michael’s Institution in Ipoh. We found him friendly and very happy to meet up with teachers who had taught him as a student, notably Br U Paul who was now his director, and with teachers who were his classmates in school, such as Mr Louis Rodrigues.
He soon made a name for himself among the fourth and fifth formers as an excellent teacher of Mathematics. They liked his no nonsense approach and his insistence on the students doing their assignments on time. Later he helped with the soccer team working closely with Br Ambrose Loke. SMI was a leading school for soccer at his time, and names of leading players are still remembered.
He was invited to join the cast for the school’s production of My Fair Lady, taking the part of Colonel Pickering, a role which he played very convincingly, with his slightly military bearing. The role of Professor Higgins was taken by his old teacher, Brother Casimir Hannon. This was in 1969.
As he moved into the 1970’s he became a member of the Police Reserve Corps which took up hours of his free time every evening. This was a valuable experience for him, as he came to understand the problems of young people, especially those who took liberties with the law.
When he was appointed discipline master in the school, his free periods were largely taken up with students who had problems, and in turn had given problems to their teachers and classmates. He was painstaking in his methods and while appearing at times to be angry with repeated offenders, he always had their best interests at heart. He doled out punishment in a measured way, and the recipients came to appreciate it as they moved on in life and gained some maturity. Years later when Eugene’s wife passed away, several of these were present in Church to express their sympathy and as a token of gratitude and respect.
Sadly he was not destined to finish his teaching career at SMI. This was in January 1982. His loss to the school is reflected in the following paragraph from the school magazine:
Mr Eugene Almeida was one of our most respected Maths teachers and in his spare time managed to attend to a great variety of additional tasks. He was a very experienced career guidance teacher, he looked after school security, he coached our footballers, he formed the AVA group to look after the sound equipment, and was unfailingly on hand for all kinds of emergencies. We thank him for his years of exceptional service.
He was posted to Sam Tet school where he became instantly popular as a great Maths teacher. Later he was promoted as senior assistant to La Salle School in Canning Garden, and finally was transferred back to his old school for his final years as senior assistant in SMI Primary.
In retirement he maintained a close links with the school, notably through the Old Michaelians’ Association, and was president of the OMA Council for one term. He was faithful for all meetings, and was regular at school functions. He was indeed a Michaelian to the end, a Michaelian forever.
May he rest in peace."
Note: Mr Eugene passed away on December 15, 2008.

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