A true Lawrence Countian: Eddie Capper

Published 9:47 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is an article that should have been written four years ago. On April 16, 2005, Eddie Capper passed away.

A friend and colleague for nearly 40 years, Eddie exemplified what it meant to be called an educator. He was a graduate of Marshall University, receiving a degree in math and physics.

He would later add a master’s in education administration.

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Eddie worked in the Fairland school system for 31 years as a math and physics teacher and assistant high school principal. He was also a veteran, serving four years in the U.S. Air Force.

I still remember the Wednesday morning at Fairland High School when Eddie pulled me aside. I thought he was going to mention the Reds or Bengals.

Instead, he told me of a brain tumor that had been discovered. I was crestfallen, but Eddie was upbeat. He would have surgery in the near future, and all his trust was in the Lord to see him through this setback. Eddie was a 34-year member of the First Baptist Church of Proctorville.

The resulting surgery would lead to an early retirement and eventually take his life, but Eddie left so much behind.

He was a Fairland Dragon to the core, but Eddie was also a master teacher, administrator, husband, and father.

He was area coordinator for the CloseUp Foundation. I was fortunate to travel to Washington D.C. with Eddie in the early 90s with a CloseUp group.

It was an eye opening experience seeing the legislative process with Lawrence County students. This was Eddie’s favorite time of the year. He also served as Quiz Bowl coach and academic director at Fairland High School for many years.

Eddie also loved sports, specially the Fairland Dragons, Marshall University, and the Cincinnati Reds.

Eddie is survived by Susan, his wife of 38 years; children Sarah, Neil, and Ann; brother Don; and several nieces and nephews.

I’ve been retired 10 years now, but I still miss the Wednesday visits to Fairland High School and just getting to talk with my friend, Eddie Capper.

Any visitor to the old high school office could not help but notice a picture on the wall of the 1961 “Untouchables” basketball team.

Coached by Carl York, the Dragons completed a perfect 18-0 record during the 1960-61 season. They next would win sectional, district, and regional titles and earn a trip to the state semi-finals held at St. John’s Arena on the Ohio State Campus. Fairland would lose a thriller to eventual state champion Ayersville 51-49.

I listened to that game on the radio along with most of Lawrence County.

The players listed on that picture in the old high school office included: Row 1, Joe Heinz, Doug Curry, Ron Kingery, Jim Harper, Junior Waldo, Eddie Capper, and Vic Lewis. Row 2, Manager Tom Martin, Joe Blazer, Gary Stanley, Tommy Day, Larry Guthrie, Charles Workman, Manager Carl Bowen, and Coach Carl York.

In conclusion, Lawrence County CloseUp Coordinator and Assistant Principal Eddie Capper exemplifies what it means to be a true Lawrence Countian.

Mike Nourse is a retired educator and contributing columnist for The Tribune. He lives in Coal Grove with wife Clara Gail, also a retired educator.