Professor J.D. Stahl

In Memoriam Prof. J.D. Stahl

Climbing Daddy Mountain by J.D. Stahl, with illustrations from Joni Pienkowski

Grace under pressure defines Prof. J.D. Stahl during his last decade as he prepared students wherever he taught. My experience is in his classrooms at Hollins University.  He made it so easy for those of us outside his inner circle to forget the leukemia battle he waged within, except for an opening day remark about please avoiding class if you had some known germs to pass around.  Thereafter his class focus spotlighted  his students and their topics – children’s literature.
I am thinking of his children’s picture book, Climbing Daddy Mountain inspired by his sprites, his two sons,   which he inscribed for a couple daddies for me to send along, much to their delight. I am thinking of his reading of  Climbing on campus in the Wyndham Robertson Library, with the boys present, which felt like a gift to us – birthday & 4th of July & Christmas all at one time.  And I am thinking of his big smile in class and his sharp questions on returned papers with cogent references to material a serious student might want to pursue.   I am thinking  most how he inspired students who now teach, some in the same program where they first met him on the other side of the desk

It will not feel like a full summer program ever again without him, but in tribute to J.D. Stahl,  we can work to create work – in class or out –  which would earn his grade of “A.”

(A thank you for Amanda Cockrell for this link to his obituary in the July 18, 2010 Roanoke Times:)

John Daniel Stahl

This is from that obituary
-A Rachel Carson quote he used as his e-mail signature for years reads, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – RT/7.19.2010

Addendum 7/27/2010:

Please know about: Daniel & Hans Stahl Education Fund, PO Box 144, Blacksburg, VA  24063-0144


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