Howard Plocher graduated from North Baltimore (Ohio) High School, earned his bachelor’s degree (and later his master’s) at Bowling Green State University, taught for a year and then served four years in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. He came to Shelby in 1946 and for the next 23 years taught business subjects, inspiring many students to use those skills throughout their lives and pursue successful business careers.
“Only a few teachers profoundly influence students’ early development,” observes an alumnus. “Howard will be remembered as one of the few.”
For another 14 years he worked with precision and accountability as the clerk of Shelby’s Board of Education.
Mr. Plocher coached hundreds of football-playing 8th graders, readying them to advance to successful gridiron careers with the varsity Whippets. “Plocher’s Knockers” went on to win numerous NOL titles. Adds a second alum, a standout football player, “Howard holds a special place in my heart because of the wonderful man he was, the great coach he was and the fine example he set.”
In his second year in Shelby he dated and married Eileen, the home economics teacher. Howard and Eileen were a very close couple, and when many thought or spoke of one, they were citing them as a couple. Their teamwork was obvious in their family, home, work and friendships. They shared ideas, experiences and conversations about family, the house and decorating, flowers, travels, food and their other interests.
During their 58 happy years together, they raised four children – all SHS graduates – Susie ’67, Beth ’70, Lisa ’74, Todd ’80 – who blessed Howard and Eileen with eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Mr. Plocher was candid with a keen sense of humor and a love of gardening and cooking. He and Eileen savored ongoing friendships with many former students and football players for years after they retired. A former student observes, “Howard and Eileen set a powerful example of love, dedication, teamwork, faithfulness and a life well-lived that impacted so many Shelby students in so many positive ways. The Plochers were both wonderful, gracious people who loved and cared for many and who were loved and revered by many.”
Mr. Plocher passed away on March 11, 2012. “Howard touched many lives during his teaching years and beyond,” adds another alum. “We are much better for him having been part of our lives.”
Nominator: Susie Plocher Borgelt ’67.