Beloved former Manchester West teacher remembered
November 27. 2017 12:08PM
MANCHESTER — Late night TV host Seth Meyers delivered a touching video tribute for his favorite Manchester High School West teacher, Walter “Wally” Lubelczyk Jr., who passed away this week.
“I just hoped he knew how much he meant to me,” said Meyers, who lived in Bedford and attended West.
Lubelczyk, 66, who spent 37 years as a constitutional law teacher at West, died Sunday following a stroke two months earlier.
“I just think that if any of you have a teacher who meant the world to you, who meant as much to you as Wally meant to me, especially as we enter this Thanksgiving season, do yourself, do them a favor,” the host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” said in a video posted on YouTube that broadcast on Wednesday as part of the show. “Pick up the phone, write ‘em an email and let them know,” Meyers said. “Give it up for Wally everybody and teachers everywhere.”
Outside Lubelczyk’s wake at Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory on Friday, Superior Court Justice Marguerite Wageling said she doesn’t think she would be a judge if not for him. And Lubelczyk never boasted about influencing her career choice.
“He was too classy to ever take credit,” she said.
“Whether you were the smartest kid in class, he encouraged you to be smarter, and if a kid did not get it, he’d find a way to inspire you and make it OK not to be the smartest kid,” recalled Wageling.
Lubelczyk’s obituary noted his influence while at West.
“During this time, his students were regularly successful at state and national mock trial competitions,” it read. “Many of his students later went on to enjoy successful careers in law.”
Former West High and Trinity football coach Gary Leonard, a colleague and former player on Lubelczyk’s high school baseball team, praised Lubelczyk’s sincerity.
“He taught me a lot and helped me a lot,” Leonard said. “He cared about every single person he came in contact with. He treated everybody special.”
Janet Diamantis, who lived near Lubelczyk in the Hillhaven Road area in Manchester, recalled seeing him walking often and said he was “popular with the whole neighborhood.”
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Hedwig Church, Beech Street, in Manchester at 11 a.m. today. While a teenager, Meyers recalled how he and a friend challenged two teachers, including Lubelczyk, to weekly racquetball matches. Despite being younger and in better shape, the students never won.
“I saw him at a holiday party a couple years ago and he did this every time I saw him,” Meyers said. “Very earnestly, he would say, you know, I’m so proud of your success and then it breaks my heart that you never beat us once in racquetball. That must just stick with you as such a failure.”