2012 Hall of Fame
John Libbee is one of Goshenís most beloved and respected teacher and coach . John is a quiet modest man with a twinkle in his eye. He has a huge sense of humor and a penchant for never meeting a stranger. He was greatly respected by his students and the athletes that he coached. He was soft spoken and patient and though he may have occasionally yelled at his athletes , his strongest word was "hinney". John literally took his life in his hands while teaching Driverís Ed. His students have numerous stories of near accidents to tell. Itís due to Johnís sharp eye and reactions that he and others survived to repeat their hair raising events. He has stayed in touch with many of his former students and they seek him out frequently.
John Donald Libbee II was born on April 15, 1931 to John D. & Clara M. Libbee. He was the eldest of two children. John and his sister Barbara Jo grew up in Miamisburg, Ohio and attended the Miamisburg schools. John graduated from MHS in 1949 with Phyllis McGuire, one of the famous McGuire Sisters. The 49ers as they call themselves meet quarterly every year for dinner and get-togethers. John was also quite an athlete and played ball growing up and through college. He was and still is one heck of a baseball player and lettered in the sport as well as lettering in basketball.
Johnís father instilled a love for sports and coaching while he was young. Johnís father was an All American Athlete who has been inducted into the Miamisburg High School Hall of Fame for lettering in four different sports, and that record holds today. In 1928, Johnís father was an All State Basketball player, and he influenced his son to enter coaching
John attended Bowling Green State University in Findley, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1958 and a Masters in Education in 1959. While at BGSU, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 1962 he attended the University of Dayton and received his Educational Administration certification.
John proudly served in the Army. He was an Explosives Ordnance Disposal expert and is a veteran of the Korean War. Thatís one of many reasons why the group of students from GHS who served in Vietnam is so special to him. As a veteran, service is important to him, and of the seven young people from Goshen who served in Vietnam, six of them were in Johnís classes and one very special young man was his basketball manager. These young people have not been forgotten by John and are always close to his heart.
In February of 1959, John was hired at Goshen where he taught health, physical education, and driverís education. He also coached basketball at the reserve, junior varsity, and varsity levels. In addition, he was an assistant football coach, and an assistant track coach. As assistant football coach under his longtime friend & head football coach, James F. Brown, he enjoyed the successes of county championship teams in 1961, 1963, & 1964.
A passionate golfer, John really enjoyed playing the game and he founded the Goshen High School Golf team and coached them for many years. He experienced many successful season with the GHS Golf Team.
In 1970 and again in 1985 the students of Goshen High School dedicated the Goshen yearbook to him. The students identified him as someone who is always dedicated to sports, coaching, and teaching.
In September 1959, he met Erma Lee Jump who had begun teaching at Goshen, and in June of 1961 they married. The story goes that they met while both chaperoning a dance! They have two children. Nancy is currently living in Dayton and teaching at Scarlet Oaks CTC in Sharonville, and Donald is currently living in Marysville and working at Honda. With the combined effort of Nancy and Donald, John and Erma celebrated their Golden 50th wedding anniversary this past summer with many, many friends and family!
John retired with 35 years of teaching service, and Erma retired with 42 years of teaching service. Erma began her career at Goshen, taught at Milford, and then taught at Live Oaks and Scarlet Oaks.
John has several interests and hobbies. He and Erma enjoy boating, antiquing, auctions, searching flea markets, and keeping busy. Over the years, John and his friends would metal detect to find Civil War treasures. He would research the battlefields at local libraries and then get permission on privately owned lands to detect. His small collection is quite impressive. In addition to that, he is a WWII history buff and is quite knowledgeable about the weapons and military supplies that were used during those times. John is a member of the NRA and belongs to the Eastern Hills Gun Club where he did hold the office of secretary.
John, a man of very few words, but great of heart, enjoyed his teaching and coaching at Goshen, enjoyed his many, many students, remembers them, and even now keeps in touch with quite a number of them.
John repeats and believes the quote "Itís mind over matter. What you believe you can do, no matter the situation or odds." He believes it, his family believes it and many of his students do too after encountering John.
Nominated by Joyce Croley and Nancy Libbee
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