In his thirty years at Northwood, Roger Loud became a respected, iconic figure: a math instructor extraordinaire, a consummate wit at graduations and school meetings, a laconic but incisive contributor to any serious conversation. In the weeks since his passing, his colleagues and former students here have offered on this site heartfelt, succinct tributes to a much-loved figure. In this article, we share a few longer reflections:
When I think of Roger, I think of a brilliant, witty, stoic, wise, humble, and incredibly kind man. He was truly a legend and touched the lives of countless students. Kids who hated math left his class loving it. There was something about his teaching style and humor that kids connected with.
Roger never embraced the technological world. No cell phone, no computer. He handwrote his quizzes and report cards. At his eightieth birthday party, he received an iPad as a gift. When I tried to convince him that he could use it to keep in touch with family and students through Facebook, he laughed at me and called it “the most expensive paperweight” he’d ever have.
He was an incredible mentor and role model for the faculty, and he will forever be in my heart.
It’s an imperfect metaphor, but it’s been the one bouncing in my head ever since Reno invited me to talk a little about Roger. The picture is this: a sea drogue. It’s a trick used by sailors to keep a ship on course, despite the wind and waves.
No one in my teaching career was as steadying an influence as Roger Loud. Whenever we faced headwinds or crosswinds, when we’d be tempted to oversteer, Roger would offer up a few words, maybe just a simple question, and the course would once again be clear.
Roger had no need to be stomping around on deck, shouting orders. Maybe he’d satisfied that urge as Head of North Country School. He let us steer. I wonder, however, if he knew that we were all looking back at him, for his response, even his approval. Roger Loud wielded more effect by simply raising his eyebrows than so many of us had by shouting.
No, it’s a flawed metaphor, the sea drogue, as it might suggest some kind of drag. To the contrary. Roger was an inspiration, one whose very presence made us want to be better. He just didn’t mind guiding from the back row.
Don Mellor '71
Roger Loud played multiple roles in my two years at Northwood so, with the goal of attempting to keep this as sharp as his wit, I’ll share my favorite memory from each, some appropriate, some less so, but I’d be shocked if everybody reading didn’t have their own version of similar stories.
Mr. Loud was the teacher who lived at the end of the hall of the bottom floor, affectionately known as The Pit. While that end of the school was really for seniors and PGs, our whole corridor was juniors. Rog would do his 11 pm bed-time check-in and then usually just closed the door and let the boys be boys. That was until one night, around 1:30 am, for whatever reason, we were all in the hallway louder than usual. Shirtless, Rog kicked open his apartment door and yelled “HAAAAUL ASSSSS”. Twenty-four years later we still use that line regularly in our Northwood group chat.
As my advisor, Roger really was the reason I wanted to go to Amherst. Sure, it was by far the best school that hockey and Northwood enabled me get into, but embarrassingly, I had never heard of Amherst College before coming to Northwood and getting to know Roger. I thought ”If the smartest person I’d ever met went there, Amherst really must be the best.
I recall our first “Advisor/Advisee” get together when we drove down into Keene to go to Purdy’s and he ordered two Budweisers…I’m sitting there thinking wow this guy is so cool, he just ordered me a beer…until the waitress puts both in front of him…and then, of course, I thought he was even cooler.
As my math teacher, I really don’t know where to begin…I was a public-school B student, admittedly more because of effort than smarts, but after two years with Roger, I got a 5 on my AP Calc exam. He pushed me forward but also pulled me along and somehow someway got more out of me than any teacher before, with the help of DOCTOR FACTOR.
Roger impacted my life at Northwood and beyond in too many ways to encapsulate in 200 words. As I thought about what to include, I smiled thinking about all the other stories, appropriate and inappropriate. Roger Loud was many things, and meant much to his students, colleagues and friends, but he was always unabashedly himself, and, man, he was the best.
Rudy Reinhart '98
One of my favorite memories of Roger comes from the 90s when he was the Dean of Faculty. In those ancient times before Microsoft Teams chats, there was a bulletin board in the front hall next to the mailboxes where all important information was posted. There were handwritten notices as well as typed schedules and messages. After lunch, Roger would stand in front of the board, remove the four “Paper-mate Flair” markers from his pocket, choose the appropriate color (red, green, blue, or black) and make grammatical corrections to all documents. No one was immune to his insertion of a necessary comma, semicolon, or a proper “dot” on each “i.” Roger was always making sure that we looked our best!
“Best.” That word is our final judgment on Roger. He would have appreciated the terseness.
We welcome any stories that you readers might wish to share in the comments section