Rick Longyear, M-A teacher and coach, dies at 57 | August 1, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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Community - August 1, 2018

Rick Longyear, M-A teacher and coach, dies at 57

Rick Longyear, a longtime teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School and, for decades, a coach and official in competitive water sports at M-A and on the Peninsula, was of the strong opinion that sports and other extracurricular activities present students with opportunities for important life lessons, a fellow coach said in remembering him.

Longyear, who was recently inducted into the M-A Athletic Hall of Fame, died July 17 after a "short battle with cancer," M-A principal Simone Rick-Kennel said in a midsummer newsletter. He was 57.

"We will miss Rick," Rick-Kennel wrote in an email. "A big loss for our M-A community."

His wife Sally Longyear said in a recent Facebook post that she'll be running the Relay for Life in Burgess Park in Menlo Park on Saturday, Aug. 11, and asks for contributions in her husband's memory. Go to main.acsevents.org/goto/Sally to make a contribution.

Longyear is survived by his wife and his son CJ.

Longyear was officially inducted into the M-A Hall of Fame on July 20, but will be honored posthumously at the 10th annual M-A Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Coaching was a passion for Longyear, M-A Athletic Director Paul Snow wrote in an email. "He was never NOT involved in coaching in his entire 36 years at M-A," he said.

Longyear taught biology for 36 years, mostly 10th-graders seeking a lab-science credit for the University of California system, fellow science teacher Lance Powell wrote in an email. Longyear's blended-biology course served students of all academic levels and challenged them to opt for more rigorous coursework and earn an "advanced" designation on their transcripts.

"Rick loved teaching, and loved teaching Biology especially," Patrick Roisen, an advanced-placement biology teacher at M-A, wrote in an email. Longyear helped pilot labs for a biotechnology group that now provides equipment and logistical support for DNA engineering and testing in classrooms around the Bay Area, Roisen said.

A field of study that came to be known as "sewer science" in Bay Area and Southern California schools, ranging from ecology to microbiology, is also a result of Longyear's initiative, Roisen said.

"His enthusiasm for learning new concepts and ideas was infectious," he said. "As a colleague, Rick was a consummate team player in the Science Department, doing anything and everything asked of him, and was the person I could always depend on for a helping hand."

"He was dedicated to his students, staying in at lunch to help them get caught up and even sometimes swinging through my classroom to check in on former students and see how they were doing," Roisen said. "As a teacher and a person, Rick epitomized one of his favorite words -- 'Outstanding!'"

A native of Alaska, Longyear moved to Southern California while in middle school and graduated from Villa Park High School in Orange County.

Longyear had a bachelor's degree from Stanford University as well as a master's degree in education. He also played water polo for the school.

He joined the M-A faculty in 1982 and coached the girls water polo team until about 2006. He then volunteered as an assistant coach and ran all the school's home swim meets, Snow said.

As head of sports for the Peninsula Athletic League, he ran all preseason and postseason meetings with swimming coaches, and directed the league's swimming championship meets for more than 30 years, Snow said.

This obituary is based on information from Rick Longyear's colleagues.

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