by Dr. Ken Hogarty ’66
Lou was already a teacher at SH when I started in September of 1962 and had become Vice-Principal for Academics by the time I graduated in June of 1966. From that point until I replaced him as Assistant Principal for Academics in August of 2001, Lou faithfully served the school he had attended and cherished.
One of my first memories of Lou was in his role of Freshman 9A’s Registry/Homeroom teacher in 1962. From a teacher’s perspective, it would have been hard to imagine a worse situation. The 45-minute mid-day homerooms mirrored a full lunch period—supposedly a combination of study hall and announcements, but in a building where you could hear the other half of the student body outside loudly enjoying itself—took place daily. The teacher had to control, manage, or cajole roughly 40 young men, very few of whom wanted to stay on any task at all.
Lou basically took 9A, supposedly the top students, through Robert’s Rules of Order. I think over the course of the year, enjoying our first taste of parliamentary democracy, we must have named about 20 different Homeroom Presidents after impeaching 19 of their predecessors. It wasn’t as big a deal then, but in retrospect this might have allowed about 20 people to have claimed to have been a Homeroom President when applying for college. I thought of these “elections” in early December. Visiting Lou with fellow former teachers Ned Bennett and Bill Corkery, we found out that Lou had literally been voted “Resident of the Month” of November in his very large care facility in Pleasant Hill. He was still winning elections to the very end, whether they were conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order or not.
The reason he won that election, of course, was the same reason people always loved Lou. He was about the most solid, personable, loyal man you could ever meet. In his role as academic leader of the school for decades, he helped guide his alma mater through many passages. Schools can be excellent in different ways if they are meeting the needs of their changing student body well. Lou guided SH and SHCP and SHC through many iterations of excellence. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, this lovable ex-Marine, was something of a flak-catcher. At other times, he had to steer a contentious “Curriculum Committee,” with many faculty members on different pages about achieving excellence. He was always, however, a person that everybody respected, if not loved. In fact, I think some of his most enjoyable years happened toward the end of his career when he could “just be Lou” in interactions with younger faculty members. He certainly had a lot to do with modeling the best virtues of Lasallian and Vincentian education for “his faculty.” He also enjoyed the continuing love and support of his family and especially his wife Ginnie, who passed away a little over a year before him.
A “Brother’s Boy” to his core, it’s fitting that Lou is an affiliated Christian Brother. He really did feel a passion for the students whose lives he touched, even those he touched indirectly through the faculty he hired and led. The school espouses the virtues of Faith, Action, Integrity, Thought and Hope. Lou epitomized somebody who embraced all of these. Additionally, Vincentians speak of three fundamental characteristics of a vibrant Catholic community: it should be relational, it should be a venue for service, and it should be a place of joy. SHC strove to be that to a great extent through the modeling of Lou Meyer.
The school community has lost a great man. He entered Sacred Heart to learn, and served ever since. And, with Ginnie, he’s probably serving in Heaven too. I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Peter just voted him “Newbie of the Month” in Heaven.