By Helen Babel Vroman
Our family, the Babels, moved to Andes from Delhi in 1946. We ran a dairy farm of 28 cows on Cabin Hill Road. John was in the fourth grade and I in the first when we first walked the halls of Andes Central School. Last May, John attended the 60th reunion of the class of 1955. Upon returning home to Fairview Park, Ohio he called me. “Helen, let’s go back and relive our childhood. It was the PERFECT place to grow up.” Unfortunately, we never got the chance to do that as John went to Heaven on April 4, 2016.
My thoughts are; yes we did have an idyllic setting for our formative years. Our classmates were more brothers and sisters, rather than just some kids in our class. John, along with his classmates, Herb Grommeck, Russell Estus, Bob Wright and Freddie Wilson, were first stringers on the ACS 1955 Basketball team. That year was magical for all of us. We won the Class D championship played at Cornell.
After graduating Andes, John went to Delhi Ag and Tech for two years. His friend and former Ag teacher at Andes, Bob Howell, convinced him to go to Cornell University to finish his Bachelors in Education. He taught shop and Ag at Schoharie and then went back to Cornell for his Masters. After that, he continued to Ohio State for his Doctorate in Education. (Not bad for a farm kid from Andes.)
John and many other graduates of little Andes School made wonderful contributions in many fields. John was the Superintendent of Schools of Fairview Park City School District for 22 years. I couldn’t help but think at John’s Celebration of Life what a good man he was. People stood up and told many stories of how John influenced their lives. I think he would agree with me, that our little town of Andes planted that seed of caring for others, always doing the best you can and, above all, loving this life we’ve been given.~