Longtime Hardaway High School humanities teacher Jim Fletcher, 66, whose instruction so stuck with students that they could outplay contestants while watching "Jeopardy" on TV and outshine other freshmen in their first year of college, died Monday in Columbus.
Former students remembered him for making lessons entertaining and insightful.
"The crazy thing is that I was telling the St. John’s staff this morning about watching Monty Python in his class as seniors," 1995 Hardaway graduate Kedron Jarvis wrote in an e-mail from St. John's Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Ala., where today she's an associate rector. She said she recounted that classroom experience right before she learned Fletcher had died.
"Mr. Fletcher made humanities the most interesting class at Hardaway," she added. "He mixed genuine care for his students' learning with a complete disdain for stupidity, and made class fun. No one wanted to miss class, because who knew what would happen, what piece of art he would have us discussing, what famous location he would quiz us on?"
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Of Furman University, she wrote: "He prepared us for college so thoroughly that the humanities professor at Furman sent Mr. Fletcher a letter thanking him for how well he prepared his students. Everyone who took his classes would be a winner on 'Jeopardy.' He made sure we could speak of topics educated people would know about. His quick wit and murmured retorts kept us on our toes and made us want to study so we could participate in discussions with him."
Funeral arrangements are to be announced by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in Columbus.