Posted on

Earl Saulman most proud of his role as an educator

Earl Saulman most proud of his role as an educator
Earl Saulman most proud of his role as an educator
Earl Saulman

An educator, dedicated public servant, and good friend and adviser to many, Earl Saulman, 79, of Corydon, died Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004, at Jewish Hospital in Louisville.
His wife of 27 years, the former Betty Fisher, was by his side. Saulman had suffered a massive heart attack a week earlier.
Although he was a school corporation trustee, county councilman and then a strong-willed council president, Saulman considered his long career as a school principal his greatest achievement. ‘I influenced a lot of lives,’ he said forthrightly during the council campaign in 2000. ‘They will tell you I did.’
J.R. Eckart of Corydon, who chairs the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, was one of those students whose lives were influenced by the man with the thick forearms, white hair and ice-blue eyes. He remembers him well at Corydon Central High School.
‘Earl was my high school principal. It was the Class of ’73. I don’t think any of us will ever forget him, and I don’t think he will forget us,’ Eckart said with a chuckle. ‘It was the end of the Vietnam War, and we were a bunch of free-thinking brats.’
Saulman was a no-foolishness-allowed principal and disciplinarian who had a soft spot in his heart for students who came from dire circumstances. Eckart said, ‘Earl could deal with a person on whatever level necessary.
‘He would sit down in the office and talk to you, or he would take off his coat and tie and get ready for you in the parking lot. He would deal with you however it was needed.
‘He was a great guy.’
Saulman was born Oct. 18, 1924, the son of the late Oscar and Mary Viola Schickles Saulman.
He amassed an impressive resum’. He was principal at Laconia Grade School and the Gallatin County High School in Warsaw, Ky. He worked for Midwest Freight Systems of Chicago, he was a middle school teacher at Russellville High School and Bardstown High School, both in Kentucky, a two-term member and chairman of the Harrison County Council, a member of the Indiana State Retired Teachers Association, a past master of the Duvall Masonic Lodge in Bardstown, past president of the Corydon Rotary Club, and treasurer of the Corydon Central High School Dollars for Scholars. He was a member of Corydon Presbyterian Church.
Saulman served on and chaired the Harrison County Plan Commission and was secretary of the South Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees.
He was a Navy veteran of World War II, and was awarded the Purple Heart. He was a radioman in Bombing Squadron Six in carrier operations in the Pacific.
Edmund F. Schneider was superintendent of the South Harrison Community School Corp. from 1963 to 1984. He remembers Saulman as a conscientious educator.
‘He wanted to do the best he could for the children in the school,’ Schneider said. ‘He did his best to have the proper discipline for the school.’
Schneider recalls Saulman’s hiatus from education. ‘He left education for several years and went into the trucking business. That didn’t work out as well as could be expected, and he went to be principal at Laconia Grade School, K through 6, for a time.
‘He was always on the job,’ Schneider said. ‘If he ever missed, it was due to illness. You could always depend on him.’
Saulman was a 1943 graduate of Corydon High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts at Western Kentucky State College in 1951, and taught industrial arts and math at Russellville and then Bardstown. He also earned a master’s degree in education administration at Western.
Saulman was preceded in death by two sisters, Gladys Duley and Myrtle Kingsley.
Besides his wife, Saulman is survived by two stepsons, Leonard Howard Byrn of Hanford, Calif., and Brian Douglas Bryn of Elkhart; two stepdaughters, Rosalee South of Carlisle and Saundra Kernan of Bowling Green, Ky.; three brothers, Walter, Donald and Gerald Saulman, all of Corydon; two sisters, Catherine Satterfield of New Salisbury and Anna Jane Raisor of Edwardsville, and eight grandchildren.
The funeral was Monday afternoon at Beanblossom-Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon. The Rev. Cheryl Thorne officiated. Beth Bostock was organist, and Sharon Simpson was vocalist.
Pallbearers were Ralph Knear, Dale Satterfield, Harlan Fisher, Harrison County Councilman Carl Duley, Harrison County Sheriff Mike Deatrick and former county commissioner Steve Haggard.
Honorary pallbearers were Ronald W. Simpson, Dr. Neyland Clark, State Rep. Paul Robertson and Tom Butt. A Masonic service was held Sunday evening at the funeral home.
Saulman was elected to the Harrison County Council in 1992 and again in 1996. Former councilman and commissioner Steve Haggard, now chairman of the Harrison County Democratic Central Committee, remembers Saulman (‘a faithful Democrat’) from high school and the council.
Haggard was on the council with Saulman in the 1990s, and Saulman was always prepared.
‘No ifs, ands or buts about it,’ Haggard said. ‘Earl pretty well ran the ship, but he was always fair.
‘If you didn’t get your ducks in a row, he had you. If you were going to do something, you had better have your stuff together, because he would.’
Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes said Saulman did his homework to keep the council up to date on finances. ‘Earl was very accurate on his figures. He reported on the status of our money, the financial status of the county. I always appreciated that. Whatever he reported, that’s the way it was.’
Saulman also compiled and wrote the history of ‘Blacks in Harrison County Indiana,’ in 1999 and updated the 146-page work in 2001. A copy is on file at the Harrison County Public Library, in the Frederick Porter Griffin Center for Local History and Genealogy.
‘I have felt for a long time that the black people of Harrison County should be better known,’ Saulman said in the foreword.
Former Corydon Democrat reporter Holly Cummings wrote a story on Saulman’s book a few years ago.
She said, ‘I remember going into that story about Earl’s book with mild interest, but coming away completely hooked on the journey that both the earliest black families in Harrison County had taken, and that Earl was making as he continued researching and compiling their histories. Earl’s intensity and desire to be accurate and true ‘ and his way of looking directly into my eyes with his snappy blues ‘ caused me to want the same, to be able to portray the information he shared in the best possible way.
‘The work was obviously close to his heart, and it showed not in his pride, but in his humility.’
During his tenure as Corydon Central High School principal, Saulman earned the respect of the student body as well as the staff. Rebecca Eckart knew him when she was a Shireman in high school and then when she became an Eckart and a counselor at CCHS.
‘He was probably one of the best principals I ever worked for,’ Eckart said. ‘He demanded respect from his students, and they respected him very well.
‘He was very firm, and he was consistent with discipline,’ Eckart said. ‘I think that’s why he was so successful with it.’
She said Saulman was also her high school principal, which made working with him later special. His main concern was always the children, so much so that he recorded the student’s grades on school transcripts for the teachers. ‘He always wanted to know how the children were doing,’ she said.
‘When he walked into the gymnasium, he didn’t have to tell the children to be quiet.
‘He was very involved with the children and very supportive. His wife, Betty, was always supportive, too. She is very people-oriented.’
Eckart said she, Saulman and counselor Ruth Churchill started the Dollars for Scholars program at Corydon by contributing $15 each to start the charter. Saulman always made it clear he wanted to stay involved. ‘He would say, ‘I’m here for the long haul,’ ‘ Eckart said.
‘I think he was a true servant leader,’ she added.
Saulman’s family suggests that expressions of sympathy take the form of contributions to the Corydon Central High School Dollars for Scholars.