A few weeks ago Mr. Bobby Lewallen of Banks County passed away at age ninety. He was truly "a man to remember".
Banks County has lost a loyal and dedicated former educator.
He was a teacher in the truest sense of the word and was also the
Banks County School Superintendent for a number of years. His family has lost a loving husband and father.
I have along with many others have lost a friend and former teacher.
He loved to go fishing, and he was very good at the sport. He caught many a fish, because he knew where the good fishing spots were located and when the fish would be biting.
He also loved other outdoor areas, and on occasion, he would venture into the woods to go hunting; he was a marksman.
Additionally, he was a patriot and served his country with distinction in South Korea in the early 1950's.
In his college days, he was a pitcher on the Piedmont College baseball team, and he enjoyed the sport of baseball immensely.
Mr. Lewallen loved the Lord Jesus Christ and was a superb Sunday School teacher for numerous years at his church. Those in his class loved his ability to convey the Christian teachings in the lessons that he taught concerning the scriptures of the week.
I first came in contact with Mr. Lewallen in 1960, when I was a tenth grade student in his World History class at Commerce High School. He had been a teacher there since the 1950's.
At times history can be as boring as talking to a telephone pole, but with the right person at the helm of the class, some can make the subject matter come alive in the minds of their students.
That was Mr. Lewallen. He had the unique ability as a teacher to captivate the class with his presentation of the subject matter at hand, and this happened not occasionally but every day with him at the head of the classroom.
As a high school student, I could not wait to get to his class for the next lesson, whether it be about the Spartans of ancient Greece defending Thermopylae Pass against a Persian invasion, or the accomplishments of the ancient civilizations of the Greek and Roman cultures or the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, as well as many other stories that he presented from the annals of the history of the world.
He made the class an exciting one, and he did all of this with rarely a book or note in his hands, for he had a great memory, and he was always thoroughly prepared to teach his students each day.
Because of his ability to inspire students like me, I developed a desire to become an educator as well. I wanted to pattern my work ethic after him.
He set a great example for all to see who sat under his tutelage, not only by way of his area of expertise in subject matter, but also by the way in which he conducted himself which was always one of dignity, humility and class.
As a student, I was taught by many instructors in the social science field in the course of my education, but Mr. Lewallen was the best of them all including my time of attending college classes.
In the spring of 1961, after finding out that I along with some other students in the school enjoyed the sport of golf, Mr. Lewallen started a golf team at our school and scheduled matches for us with other schools in our area.
We golfers were most thankful to him for this new opportunity. Thanks go out from me and others to a superb educator named Bobby Lewallen who was indeed a man with the "right stuff'.
Micah 6:8-"He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
I told him on numerous occasions, when we would by chance meet, of his positive impact upon me. As always, he was very gracious.
Thanks, Mr. Bobby Lewallen for being such a great influence upon my life as well as the lives of many others not only in the Banks County, Jackson County and Commerce areas but also in our state.
In addition, as you read this, please take time out of your busy week to thank a teacher, coach or administrator from a school in our area for the job that they are doing weekly to teach and mold our youth.
Each one has given great amounts of time and effort to educate and lead our children and grandchildren in their studies and in sports activities, for they like all of us in America in this last year have struggled mightily in dealing with this COVID plague on our nation.