I had known for some time that Bill Malinosky had been ill, but it was nevertheless a very sad moment when I read his obituary in the Times last Wednesday.
There are times when you wish you had a chance to thank someone for something that they did and you never get the chance. This is one of those times.
I should start off by saying that I was not one of Mr. Malinosky’s best students. In fact, I am sure that when I was in his class, I upset him more than most.
I will always remember him taking me out into the hallway and lecturing me on my behaviour. He was certain that I would be flipping burgers for the rest of my life (his words, not mine).
It took a long time after I was in his class for me to realize that he was really well-intentioned despite his somewhat ominous tone. I was simply too young and dumb to listen.
I never did well in his class (I am not even sure if I finished it), but his concern for my well-being and effort to put me on the right track was evident—and his passing has caused me to reflect on this.
I know that he has had a profound influence on a lot of students. Many of my friends have stories to tell about Mr. Malinosky’s stubborn refusal to appreciate football until he gave it a chance and became one of the Muskies’ loudest supporters—eventually going to almost every game (with the big hat always on).
Or of how he gave $5 to any student who found a spelling mistake on the board, or how he left a small box of After Eight mints on students’ desks at Christmas.
There surely are hundreds of similar anecdotes.
Mr. Malinosky was, however, first and foremost a teacher and he loved to teach. I can only hope that my children are lucky enough to have someone with as much passion about teaching as they go through school.
It was particularly sad for me to see the Mr. Malinosky died alone and had no family. For what it is worth, I think it should be known that every student that passed through his door was, and is, a part of his family—even those of us who didn’t appreciate it at the time.
I know that it is too late, but still, thanks Mr. Malinosky.
Editor’s note: Dr. T.E. Gillon is a senior analyst, Policy and Co-operation Directorate of Space Development, at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.