School 31
Official Obituary of

Robert Edwin Taeschner, Ph.D.

December 26, 1934 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Robert Taeschner, Ph.D. Obituary

Robert E. Taeschner, better known to his students as “Doc” and his friends as “Bob” passed away peacefully on February 9, 2024.  He was approaching the ripe old age of 90.

Robert was born in Chicago, Illinois (Berwyn) on December 26, 1934 to a German-American father, Carl E. Taeschner, and an Irish-American mother, Lotetta Hellwig.  He had a younger sister named Jane.

He attended St. Leonard’s grade school where he was befriended by a compassionate nun who helped him earn colored stars for good behavior, Sr. Michael Anne.  For the remainder of his life she sent him a birthday card until she passed away.

Thereafter, he attended Fenwick High School, graduating in 1952.  He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Loras College and a Master’s Degree in Theater Arts from Catholic University of America There, he enjoyed touring the United States with Player’s Incorporated (Father Hartke) as a stage theater actor along with future Hollywood stars, Phil Bosco, and Jimmy Bateman (Laugh-In).

Coming home to his parents’ home in 1957 he bragged to his mother that he could not find a job.  His mother went to the closet and retrieved her purse, after which Bob stated, “If I had two cents, I’d join the damned Army.”  She slammed two cents down onto the kitchen table and he was on his way to the enlistment center.

After a three-year stint in the U.S. Army as an artilleryman he wised up from the ear-deafening noise.  Because of his advanced college degrees, he was transferred to the Army Information Office where he wrote and produced the first television show at Fort Lewis, Washington named “Action Army”.  He interviewed many officers and men, finally culminating in interviewing Major General Louis W. Truman   Bob also produced a play on base and directed it, titled, ‘Twelve Angry Men’.

While at Fort Lewis, Washington he attended an Army dance where he met his future wife, Jacqueline Barbara Paolucci.  They soon married and in the midst of being a newlywed, he was transferred overseas to a U.S. Army base just outside of Tokyo named Mount Zama.  At night time he also taught English at Sophia University (Jōchi Daigaku ).  Before leaving the service he achieved the rank of Sergeant (E4).

Jacqueline and Bob purchased a home on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.  His first job was working at the Golden Rule Bakery while attending night school to earn a high school teaching certificate.

He began his first teaching job at Highline High School in Burien, Washington; thereafter he became a forty-year English, drama, film appreciation, journalism, and became English department head at Evergreen High School in White Center (Burien, WA).  During this time, he returned to school and entered the University of Washington Doctoral Studies Program in Philosophy, completing it in 1972.  There he was mentored by a professor by the name of Burt Joseph, whose own mentor had been world-renowned author T.S. Lewis. 

During his tenure at Evergreen High School, he developed teaching curriculum with an emphasis on mixing the various learning styles of students.  These styles were not only individual, but mixed.  Future schools adopted this same groundbreaking idea of allowing students to work at small group tables with physical items, such as bars of soap, to be carved into sculptures.  He was about forty years ahead of the development of this curriculum that had students working hands-on and out of their seats with auditory, visual, tactile, and a mixture of them in order to retain long-term learning that could become employable skills.  Notably, employers had often asked schools to focus on teaching students ‘the trades’ (car repair, plumbing, construction, electrical, etc.) that were mostly hands-on.

Additionally, Bob ran the school newspaper (journalism) and taught drama to his many students; some, having had their parents as his former students.  Students worked to put on school plays in the campus ‘Round Theater’, such as ‘Harvey’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ ‘No Time for Sergeants,’ ‘Twelve Angry Men,’ ‘Hamlet,’ and ‘A Mid-Summer-Night’s Dream.’  Several of his closest teacher friends at Evergreen High School were Dave Meyers, Hugh Kincaid, Darryl Whitmore, and Elvin DeKoening.

During his tenure he once said, “I had seven principals in the years I taught.  Only two of them were any good.  My favorite was Dr. Ferry Fischer, a down-to-earth common-man with common-sense.  He didn’t bully his staff.”

The most profound statement he made regarding teaching was as follows.  “Most kids living around Evergreen were from the projects.  Many spoke different languages down the hallways.  Many came to my classroom to keep from being sexually assaulted by family at home, to get something to eat, or just to be at peace and have someone to talk spill their guts.”

Bob was in numerous plays at ACT Theater in Seattle.  Such plays were Our Town, Twigs, and at the same time was a Hollywood actor for films, Joyride (1976), Plain Clothes (1983).

During the years he taught at Evergreen High School, some of his students went on to become producers, actors, and writers; one being the recipient of an Emmy Award for building the sets for L.A. Law.

He retired from public school teaching after 55 years and then did a year stint as a “double dipper” at Issaquah High School for a year; thus, earning him the nickname of “the Old Man”.  He was a charter member of the Knights of Columbus in Black Diamond, WA.

At age 74 he underwent surgery for cancer and survived it; ultimately, living for another fifteen years.

In 2004 he went to work teaching basic English and Art History at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Tukwila, Washington.  The academy name later changed to Sanford Brown College.

This was a school for students needing trade skills and the ability to continue on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. 

He was asked by his son, Sean, to describe the following.  “Dad, what is teaching as a profession?”  He replied, “Teaching is the ability to put on a good show for your captive audience.  The show has to be well written, well-planned, well-produced, and be of interest to your captive audience, your students.  If they feel that you have been a lousy actor in the captive production, they will get up and leave...never to return to your theater again.  Teaching is acting, Sean.  That is how a classroom should be run.”

He put on a good show. He finally stopped teaching after 58 years at the age of 83.  Students were aching to stay and learn, not bailing out of his classroom.  This was a teacher who made learning fun.

A song that best describes our father was written by Mike & the Mechanics. ‘In the Living Years’.

Bob leaves behind his wife, twin sons Sean and Mark, a daughter, Angela, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Click on link for tribute video.

A song that best describes our father was written by Mike & the Mechanics. ‘In the Living Years’.

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Funeral Mass
February 23, 2024

1:00 PM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
1614 Farrelly Street
Enumclaw, WA 98022


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