Bob Esarey, a principal for 39 years
Veteran educator Robert C. Esarey, 84, Leavenworth, died Sunday, April 3, 2005, at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon.
A native of Alton, born Sept. 29, 1920, he was the son of the late Joseph Clark and Rose Elizabeth John-son Esarey.
He retired from Crawford County Junior-Senior High School after 39 years in education, all as principal and, early in his career, sometimes doubling as a teacher/principal. He was a member of Leavenworth Presbyterian Church and an Army veteran of World War II.
Otis Broughton knew Esarey as a principal, teacher and boss.
‘Our first day as fourth graders, Mr. Esarey came in to introduce himself, and he was a huge man. He sure intimidated me … I knew I didn’t want to get in any trouble,’ said Broughton, now a social studies, physical education and health teacher at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.
‘Once I got to know Mr. Esarey, I got to know a lot more about him. He wasn’t nearly the person he appeared to be. He was a very caring and very generous man,’ he said.
‘When I participated in sports, he was always at the sporting events and always made a point to talk to us after the game. He told us that we were not only playing for ourselves but also playing for the school,’ he said.
‘I don’t think you can talk about Mr. Esarey without talking about his wife, Jean, who was very supportive and always right behind Bob every step of the way,’ Broughton said.
Benny Allen worked for Esarey as assistant principal at the high school. ‘He was a great boss, and I think everybody who worked for him would agree that he treated everybody with respect, and they respected him. I guess you could say he was my school mentor as we came up through the ranks,’ Allen said.
‘He was probably one of the most caring people I ever knew. Over the years he touched the lives and influenced a great, great number of people,’ Allen said.
Ron Ferguson worked with Esarey after the Crawford schools consolidated.
‘I have to say (he was) a very capable administrator. My wife (Verna Lee Ferguson) also attended school under Mr. Esarey at Leavenworth High School, and she definitely thought he was just an outstanding principal,’ he said.
‘Mr. Esarey was a principal that let you do your job. He didn’t bother you. He would let you teach,’ said John Hammond, a junior high physical education and health teacher at CCJSHS.
Besides his parents, Bob Esarey was preceded in death by a brother, John Elmer Esarey.
Survivors include his wife, the former Jean Branch; a son, Michael Esarey of Corydon; two brothers, David C. Esarey of Jeffersonville and Sol (Tack) Esarey of Georgetown, and three grandchildren.
Visitation was yesterday and will be today (Wednesday) after 8 a.m. at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon.
The funeral will be Wednesday, April 6, at 1 p.m. at Leavenworth Presbyterian Church with burial in Orchard Knob Cemetery in Alton. The Rev. David Roth will officiate.
The family suggests memorial gifts to the Robert Esarey Scholarship Fund at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School or to his church.