(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Above, students hold hands around a tree planted in the new Bob Brittain Memorial Garden at Columbia City High School Wednesday. Below, the garden is adjacent to the library where Brittain spent much of his time in his latter years. At bottom, a group of students and friends were present for the unveiling of the garden Wednesday. In front, from left, is Dakota Wappes, Austin Andreas and Zach Kincaid. Row two, from left, is Hannah Clark, May Cheng, Linda Hershman and Laura Hershman. Row three includes groundskeeper Denny Mettler, principal Gregg Goewert, teacher Tom Lough, CCHSAA president Andrew Thompson, speech and debate coach Aaron Dicker and head custodian Bob Burman.
Beloved educator Bob Brittain memorialized with garden at CCHS
By Jennifer Zartman Romano
A space for quiet reflection, a fitting tribute has been created at Columbia City High School for a much-loved educator by the students, colleagues and alumni who remember his so dearly.
Bob Brittain spent many of his latter years in an office in the Dale
Pence Library at Columbia City High School, so it makes sense that a
memory garden was created in his honor just outside the windows from
which light shone on his desk.
On Wednesday afternoon, a group of Columbia City High School Speech and Debate team members remembered their coach as they looked upon the small garden built in his honor.
"It is a memorial area. We felt it was fitting to do this in memory of
Bob," said Columbia City High School Alumni Association president
Andrew Thompson. Brittain had been the president of the organization,
in addition to coaching the CCHS Speech and Debate team, until his
unexpected death this past spring. A retired CCHS English teacher,
Brittain taught at the high school for 36 years and continued on as a
coach well after his retirement from the classroom in 2004. A fixture
at the high school known for arriving very, very early and staying
until late in the evening as he worked on high school activities,
Brittain was adored by his students, colleagues and fellow alumni
association members. Brittain, himself, graduated from the high school
A memorial bench in the garden was purchased with memorial gifts from fellow members of the Columbia City High School Alumni Association. A Norway Maple tree was planted in the garden thanks to donations from Indiana Speech and Debate coaches.
"Bob Burman and his crew have reworked this area and it will continue to be added to in the spring," said Thompson. Thompson said there will eventually be a plaque installed in the garden as well.
"Here in front of the library is fitting," Thompson said. "The library is where Bob spent the majority of his time."
"He touched many of us coaching and teaching," said Thompson. "He was also an integral part of the Columbia City High School Alumni Association."