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Teachers Killed in Avalanche

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Karl Mueggler and Max Lyon, the two young men who you reported having died in a tragic avalanche in Utah (Jan. 16), were both friends and colleagues of mine; I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with them for years. I am at the stage where their loss still seems unreal; I hear their voices, see their smiles, and feel their presence daily. Perhaps that’s because they live on in the students whose lives they touched? Virtually the entire school community feels like it has lost a family member, and perhaps we have.

Karl and Max taught, I believe, for the same reason that I and many other teachers do; they loved their world and all of its natural beauty, including the hearts and spirits of the youth with whom they worked. I loved them, as did others, but perhaps I envied them a bit, too. I have known no other individuals in my life who were more greatly empowered to convey deep abiding personal values; self-respect and personal confidence, humility, love and appreciation of the natural world, kindness and consideration for others, and gentle humor.

They accomplished this by joyful giving of themselves to others 24 hours a day, whether it was camping, rock climbing, or kayaking in the wilderness with students in tow, or providing a safe haven in their homes for kids who were struggling with life’s many challenges. During their rare downtime, they both managed, not to mention loved, coming down into the adjacent canyon with my Ecology Club students and me to help us restore the native vegetation there. They could laugh at any time, and they found goodness in all. How many of us are able and willing to dedicate so much of our lives to enriching the lives of others? Their own lives were a celebration of life; in their short years, they gave lifetimes to others.

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MARTIN J. BYHOWER

Redondo Beach

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