In Memory

Mr. Nicholas Polos [Teacher -Social Studies] VIEW PROFILE

Mr. Nicholas Polos [Teacher -Social Studies]




(The following tribute was copied from the CHS Class of 1957 website by permission)

In Loving Memory of our Friend and Mentor

Dr. Nicholas C. Polos, Ph.D.

1917 - 2006

Dr. Nicholas "Doc" Polos, 89, former University of La Verne History professor and long time teacher at Claremont High School, died April 8, 2006.

The Polos family was well known in civic and social circles in Claremont, actively involved in Pomona College alumni work, local politics, education issues, and they enjoyed their time with young people---mostly Nick's former students.

The Polos' also included as part of their family, the John and Martha Hernandez family of Claremont. The families grew ever closer as the Hernandez' raised their four boys, all of whom were joyfully nurtured by Ethel and Nick. The sons are Robert, Douglas, Johnny and David.

Our Classmates Remember Nick . . .

With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye he made history fun and interesting. He was a great teacher and a special man. It's been a long time since I was in his classroom but I've always remembered him with great respect.                                                                                                                           Carolyn (Ritchie) Bone (Class of '57) (El Cajon, CA 

I am sorry to read about Mr. Polos passing away. You know he and I had our differences. I know now that he was trying various ways to force me to stretch myself; to achieve; to try for something better than before. I don't think that I was the only one. When I think back to my high school years he is the one Teacher that I remember first. When I think back on those days I want to back and visit him and say "What a Good Job You did Nicholos Polos. What an Inspiritation for us little spoiled brats." I guess for now it is too late. Perhaps someday I will see him again in a better life. I hope so.
Brian L. Bonicamp
Seattle, Washington

Thirty seven years after graduating from Claremont High's Class of 1957, you were still a mentor for me. In 1994 my letter found you in Hong Kong where you were teaching U.S. History to sailors aboard an aircraft carrier. In it I asked if you would be so kind as to read and give your opinion on some writing I had done. You not only agreed to do so, you       carefully read and reviewed all 320 pages, offered valuable suggestions, and then honored me by requesting my permission to use some of it in some of your work. Once our teacher; always our friend.
Richard Douse (Bendroth)
Palo Cedro, CA

Tolerant Teacher and Faithful friend
Patient, understanding,motivational, and caring to each and every student. Time was never a factor in his association with his students. He made every student believe in his own capabilities. Nick always said"history repeats itself" but no on ever did or ever will teach history like Nick Polos. He left us with appreciation for history and mankind. Thanks, Nick. '57
Pam Garr Herrlinger and Julia Hearst Stradling
Claremont and San Diego, CA

I am very sorry to learn of the passing of Nick Polos.  He really encouraged me to play competitive tennis in high school, and he made his history and social studies classes a lot of fun.  His humor and enthusiasm are things I have tried to remember later in life.  I subscribe to the Courier, and I am sure that that paper will have a very good obituary because Nick gave back so much to both Claremont and LaVerne.
John Lyon
Bethesda, Maryland

And John was right, the Claremont Courier did have a fine obituary.  Please find it below; used by permission.

Photos by Edward Swiatek (Class of 1956)

Nicholas `Doc' Polos
Revered professor, renowned author

Nicholas "Doc" Polos was a man deemed a scholar in every way. Showing support by being both a friend and mentor, his sense of humor endured him to many people who would often wave and shout a greeting as he rode by them on his bicycle.

On April 8, 2006, the former University of La Verne professor and teacher at Claremont High School died at the age of 89.

"He was definitely a treasure," said friend John Hernandez, whose sons were nurtured by Dr. Polos and his wife. "There was a mixture of old-fashion wisdom and ways about him-but he was fascinated by technological advances."

Born March 10, 1917 in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Polos met his wife Ethel Bach in New York City in the mid 1930s. They married and in 1938, she gave birth to Richard "Dick" Polos. Jim Polos, Dr. Polos' nephew, said his uncle's early years in New York helped to shape his personality.

"In those neighborhoods you have to be pretty quick on your feet," Jim Polos said. "Between his intellect and street smarts, he was a pretty funny guy and always appreciated a good joke."

Ten years later, the family moved to California when Dr. Polos' military service brought him to the West Coast. His tour of duty saw him as a naval gunner in both WWII and the Korean War and the recipient of many medals and ribbons.

After WWII, Dr. Polos' insatiable thirst for knowledge brought him to Pomona College, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa honoree and graduated magna cum laude. He was also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow for Princeton University and a Rhodes Scholar appointee.

He continued his education at Harvard University, where he earned his master's. Later, he received his doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Polos blended his love for travel with his love for teaching and dedicated 17 years to the Air Force, where he served as a warrant officer and senior instructor, teaching junior officers college credit courses. This travel took him around the world many times, stamping his passport to such destinations as Egypt and Tibet. His last assignment was on the SS Teddy Roosevelt in the Person Gulf when the first war in Iraq broke out.

Always pounding away on a manual typewriter, Dr. Polos was an accomplished author, publishing 9 books and 82 manuscripts in the fields of history and education. His last book, San Dimas: Preserving the Western Spirit, won 4 book awards, including recognition by the California Historical Society for local history.

When not regaling his unchanging repertoire of jokes, or helping with local church functions, Dr. Polos was an accomplished rug weaver. But, he is most remembered for ongoing relationships with others.

Susan Tear, an alumna of Claremont High School, said Dr. Polos "is a tribute to the profound influence" on his students which continued "through all the years since our graduation."

"He had attended our class reunions whenever possible and always showed a deep interest in each student's progress," she said. "This gentle man has profoundly influenced so many people."

Dr. Polos' wife preceded him in death February of 2003 and their son, Richard, died in March of 2000.

Dr. Polos is survived by his nephew, James Polos and his wife, Susan; his great-nephew, Thomas Polos; his great-nieces, Louisa Polos of New York, Alyssa Love of Virginia, and Eilen Jerabek of New York; his sister-in-law, Anne Bach of New York; his nephew, Michael Bach and his wife, Cecelia of Maryland; his niece, Meg Maholski; his great-nephews, William and Sean Maholski of New York; and his first cousin, Claire Kakasitis of Massachusetts.

A gravesite ceremony took place Friday, April 21, 2006 at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont, with a memorial service held at Claremont Church of Christ.#


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01/03/09 06:19 PM #1    

Joan Parks (Hearst )

Nick Polos was one of many VERY memorable teachers at Claremont while I was there. He was an example of a person who took education very seriously, loved his students, and worked hard to insure that they would find success in their lives.

My fondest memory of Nick was the day that Moye Stephens was talking to me in class (Nick thought he was flirting) - Nick said, "Leave her alone, she is spoken for!!"

His son, Dick, was one of the groomsmen in my marriage to Ed Hearst in 1963. Nick's wife, Ethel, was an astounding person as well - she was known for not allowing a steak on her barbeque to be cooked anything but rare (even if you brought it yourself)- she would not "ruin" a steak by cooking it even medium!!

The Polos clan was unique - and he often told us that we were unique, too - he was fond of telling us that we lived in a "utopia", and had no idea how the rest of the world lived!!

03/24/09 07:22 PM #2    

Ruthi Dail Dworak (1961)

Nick Polos ~ Where does one begin to explain how one teacher can open one's eyes to the responsibility of being a citizen. I still quote him today. He was a man well ahead of his time. He never gave up on anyone. His ability to help us learn that thinking for self is a great gift. My fondest memory of Nick will be those last few days of his life & being able to tell him how much he meant to all of us. A twinkle in his eyes & smile to the end. How blessed we were to know him & his family. How he rooted for that football hero! He gave this little Polish girl pride in the contributions of the Polish in America -- starting with the Revolutionary War. I have many teachers that impacted my life, but the TOP of the list will always be the man we saw become DOCTOR Polos!

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