Posted by: illinigirl | June 26, 2011

A teacher in the school of life. . .

Today, the world lost a great man. . . however, he is now looking over from Heaven. . . and while I am sad, I am actually more happy. . . because I smile thinking of him in Heaven with a God he was so devoted to. . .

Mr. Aimone was a high school algebra teacher.  I never actually had him as a teacher in high school. . . BUT he was the Student Council advisor, and I was involved since my freshman year and an officer my sophomore through senior years.  I spent A LOT of quality time with this man.  He was also the high school religion teacher for the Catholic Church in my town and the adjacent town for Juniors and Seniors in high school. . . so yep, more quality time on Wednesday nights during the school year.

Some facts about Mr. Aimone:

  • He started teaching in. . . well, I don’t know the year exactly, but it was a really long time ago.  He taught my mom and dad. . . and well before that.
  • He was TOUGH.  You KNEW when he was not pleased.  He could give a look that could kill. . . but he could give a tongue-lashing, too.  Luckily, I never had one of these rants directed at me. . . but was just in the audience for numerous lectures to groups.  🙂
  • He managed detention after school.  Every. Day. After. School.  A lot of the same characters were in detention every day. . . and many of them didn’t give a whole lot of respect, as you can imagine.  I was in and out of his classroom a lot during detention working on Student Council stuff and asking him questions so I witnessed the fun firsthand.  This was not a pleasant job, but he managed it every day.
  • He was the most selfless and generous person I have ever met.  He went without so many things to give money to the poor.  He did not have air conditioning in his house, and would never get it. . . He didn’t need it.  There were people in the world who had real needs that needed his money more than he did.  Whenever he purchased something like new carpet or a new car, it was truly out of necessity.
  • As Student Council advisor, he was very insistent that the PRIMARY goal of our organization was to serve the less fortunate. . . not to act as student government, not to have fun. . . we had an important role in the community.  The only money-making activities for our organization were proceeds from the pop machines and Homecoming.  Every other dance, event, fundraiser, etc. went directly to charity.  We took a school bus for our Student Council trip every year, and donated the difference between taking a charter bus and that bus to charity.  We held a food drive, held a senior citizens dinner, had a HUGE charity auction, wrote to kids in Africa, etc., etc., etc.  These events truly touched me. . . particularly, the senior citizens dinner. . . and particularly, the two years I delivered meals to the homebound.  He gave me that gift.
  • He LOVED staying up late and HATED getting up early.  He never had a first period class.
  • He loved Nick at Nite, and so did I (nerd alert). . . we would always talk about the shows we watched.  🙂
  • He went with us to the Student Council State Convention in Chicago every year.  I went two or three years.  He bought us dinner from his favorite restaurant, The Italian Village, every year.  I will never forget those nights.  Also, several years in a row, we used an excuse of needing to buy feminine products to get out of going to the Student Council State Constitution review session.  This always worked because he was way too embarrassed to dispute this, let alone, discuss this!  (Sorry about that, sir.)
  • He was never married or had any kids. . . but he visited his family in Indiana often.  He always adopted kids from third world countries and sent them letters and money.  He treated us like his own, too.  He gave me this heart rosary for my high school graduation, and it’s something that I want to hold on to forever. . . (and for the record, I want to be buried with it).

  • He had a beautiful voice with a lot of vibrato, and sang in church every weekend.  I sang in a choir that he led once, and let me tell you. . . I did not have the talent for that so I had to work very hard at faking it.  HELLO, CHALLENGING LATIN SONGS!
  • He was my reference for my first jobs in high school and college.  He would write letters of reference for me, and then say. . . “I’m going to have to go to confession for all those lies I just wrote about you!”
  • He was STAUNCHLY Catholic.  He went to church ~3 times a weekend. . . at least.  He usually went to St. Patrick’s, St. Thomas, and other churches like St. John’s on campus.  He LOVED the choir at St. John’s and loved the late, late Sunday night candlelight Mass.
  • He taught us religion on Wednesday nights. . . and I remember one Wednesday, we were all kneeling, and he was saying a prayer.  There was something about the way he said, “DOPE” in the prayer (talking about kids that fall into the wrong crowd). . . The way he said this made some of us laugh so hard, that were were losing it. . . and he would have BEAT us right there in the church if we had burst out laughing during the prayer. . . and Tony, Celeste, and whoever else was sitting near us were shaking, covering our mouths, biting holes through our tongues to STOP LAUGHING.
  • I’ll have you know that if you happened to be in religion class AND Student Council, you often got to hear the same lectures Wednesday night AND Thursday morning.  “M-A-N-N-E-R-S.  MANNERS.  Doesn’t anyone have MANNERS anymore?”
  • I usually kept quiet when he would go off on tirades about stuff that I didn’t agree with or care about. . . but sometimes, I fought back because hey, I can be stubborn, too!!!  I remember that a former Stu Co president and one of my favorite people (Patty D.) called me when I became president and she said I’d do better than she did because I would be much more diplomatic with him than she was.  Generally, I probably was a little more than she. . . but most of my disagreements were about personal things.  I remember him talking about how he didn’t go to a close friend’s wedding because he married someone who had been divorced before.  This really frustrated me because I felt he put his stubborn religious views over LOVE.  While I appreciate that he had high standards for himself and others. . . he drove me crazy with some of this stuff.
  • I remember seeing him my senior year in college at a night Mass on campus.  I talked to him after Mass for a few minutes, and as he turned to walk away. . . I started crying.  He was walking so slowly, and it broke my heart to see that a man that hadn’t aged to me in 20 years was finally showing signs of getting old.  😦

. . . And so it began.  Mr. Aimone had a few issues and then. . . ended up in a nursing home, where he has been for quite some time.  Today, his suffering finally ended.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll never forget you.  You were like a 3rd Grandpa to me. . . and there were times in high school where I spent more time with you than my family!  Rest in peace and put in a good word for me, will ya?  🙂

Here is (SADLY) the only picture I have with this man. . . and yes, I have my mouth open and look dumb, but it's difficult to find a picture in high school when I didn't look dumb.

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Responses

  1. Great tribute. Great man.

  2. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man

  3. you made me cry! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. I got every single one of my detentions from Mr. Aimone. All my freshman year in high school. I had two classes with him and needless to say I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut! Love that he would never say, “you have a detention”, just, “Cheatum, tonight or tomorrow night?”. He was the BEST!!!!

    • You? A talker? No! Haha! Love it, Joey! 🙂

  5. Beautiful. I still have the gift he gave me for my HS graduation, too. It’s a little jewelry box with a teddy bear on it. Totally not “me” but it still sits on my dresser (and has for *every* place I’ve lived since high school).

    • That’s so sweet, Cari.

  6. What a wonderful tribute! I think that so many of us feel exactly the same way. I had so many conversations with him about music and singing, and devotion. He was just such an amazing man. As you said on your facebook status, he is probably the person most like a saint I know. I had a moment of sadness yesterday when I found out, but man the joy I felt out weighed that by far when I realized that he is where he most wants to be! And for the record I have the crucifix that he gave me for graduation, and the crucifix that he gave Tim and I when we got married. They will be in our home forever!

    • I have a crucifix from him hanging in my bedroom, too!. . . A very special gift and reminder.

  7. This is a beautiful entry – thank you for sharing. 🙂 Mr. Aimone is one of those people who really made a positive difference in the lives of so many. We were blessed at Unity to have him!

  8. Really fighting the tears here. I’ve had this knot in my throat since yesterday. I hope wherever he is, he sees and hears how special he was to so many special people!

  9. So beautiful, Hannah!!! Your experience with him was so similar to mine. I did have him for 2 classes, however, plus religion and student council. Love that man;) I’m so happy he is no longer stuck in his purgatory on earth. I’m betting he went straight to heaven;)

  10. Great tribute. Yes he was amazing and had generations of families come through his classroom. He was always there for us- even in his opinionated ways, you knew he truly cared. We all have our favorite memories of Aimone…. And maybe that is the best tribute of all. And if I have to go to detention before I get to heaven, I hope Aimone is running it!

  11. Thank you for all the posts. It’s touching to see all the comments here and on facebook to know how many lives he impacted.

    There is a group on facebook called “Fans of Robert (Bob) Aimone”. . . but look for the EVENT, “Fans of Robert (Bob) Aimone”. . . people have posted some really funny and touching stories. . . so much fun to read!

  12. So glad you took the time to write about Mr. Aimone. I, too, have tears in my eyes. He was such a special man and we were all priviledged to know him. I know he is in Heaven now, right where he belongs.


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