William L. Disque
2011 Hall of Fame
William L. Disque was a devoted man. He was devoted to his family, church and to teaching. Born on October 23, 1936, he was the youngest son of Anne and George Disque. Bill and his five brothers, Paul, George, James, John and Charles were brought up in a deeply religious household. His closely knit family loved classical music and football, especially Notre Dame. Family get togethers usually included listening to opera sang by his brother George who had preformed professionally on his own radio show in Kansas. The rest of the time included watching or discussing Notre Dame.
Bill attended and graduated from Saint Xavier High School in 1954. He graduated from Xavier University in 1958. During his years in school, he was inspired by his teachers religiously as well as professionally. By the time he was ready to graduate from school, he felt he was being called to be a teaching priest too. However, his parents were sick and he had a brother who needed him too. He promised his dying mother that he would always take care of his brother Paul. His family didnít believe that Bill could stand the rigor of a religious life since he was born with a heart defect. Billís other passion was teaching so he determined that he would make that his life but still maintain his devotion to God.
Bill graduated from Xavier in 1958 and immediately started teaching at Goshen High School. In his 25 years at Goshen, he taught English, French and Latin. He expected a lot from his students, but he also gave a lot in return. He was an advisor to many organizations, including the yearbook, the newspaper, academic teams, class sponsor and the Drama Club. Many a student built a float in his garage, rehearsed at play practice, spent endless hours after school creating a yearbook or newspaper that met Billís rigorous standards. One of his primary rules was never to write something hurtful or untrue. One of Billís other goals in life was to give his students a taste of other experiences usually not encountered in their rural environment. He brought his classical music and operettas to class and tried to introduce his students to another facet of life. He took many students and teachers to see Operas and to his dearly beloved May Festival. He took bus loads of students to see plays and symphonies. Many other people traveled long distances with Bill to see former students perform and bring pride and honor to our hometown. Many people also risked their lives on these trips since Bill had a bad habit of turning on his music and "conducting" with both hands as traffic rushed toward his car. One of his former students dubbed him Goshenís Ambassador of Culture. He introduced more people to more types of art, culture and the classics than anyone else in the history of Goshen Schools.
Bill was a colorful person and filled with a passion for teaching and compassion for his students. He always wore a suit and a quirky bowtie. He was known for his dramatic flair and sonorous voice. He was recognized as a man of integrity and was a great example for many people. He had a dry sense of humor and loved the Lou Costello "Whoís on First story". Once a hand writing expert peered at his signature and pronounced the writer as intelligent, dramatic and vain. He huffed and blew but didnít argue when his analysis was revealed to him.
William L. Disque truly loved and cared about people. Few people realize the time he spent helping, encouraging and inspiring other individuals in their lowest and happiest moments. He was at funerals, weddings, graduations, birthday parties and writing thoughtful and poignant letters that were often saved for years.
Billís devotion to teaching extended to the profession as a whole. He wanted everyone to know how important education was to the individual and to the community as a whole. He wanted teachers to be respected and honored for their hard work and devotion. He was very active in the Goshen Teacherís Association, serving many years as itís President and other offices. In 1984, he decided to run for the Goshen School Board of Education. Billís platform was to improve the teacherís working conditions, salary and promote professionalism. Although he had to resign as a teacher to be eligible, he ran for office and was elected as a member in 1984.
Bill taught for 5 years at Milford High School and continued to be the devoted and passionate teacher there as well as at Goshen. He still maintained his ties to Goshen and frequently arranged trips to see former students and arranged excursions to broaden othersí horizons and pleasure. His doctors wanted him to have heart surgery before his last year of teaching. However, Bill couldnít imagine taking time off his job and insisted on waiting until his retirement. He scheduled his surgery the week after he retired. His heart gave out on the operating table. As one of his former students, Diane Rhein said " Mr. Disqueís heart may have been weak, but his generous spirit still fills my heart with gratitude."
It is an honor to nominate William L. Disque to The Goshen High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Joyce Sumpter Croley Class of 1968
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