Celebrating Paul Machemer ’65

Paul Machemer '65 will retire from George School this year after 50 years of service.

by Debbie DiMicco ’72

I am here to say a few words about a man of few words, but whose actions speak for themselves. A colleague, and a Friend, and a friend, both to me and to the school.

Personally, I don’t know how many times Paul’s quiet presence, his compassionate understanding, and his knack of supportive listening have helped me sort through challenges and setbacks. He never criticized, he never pontificated. He was the sounding board, helping me see a way forward. And I knew, that whatever I said, Paul would keep my confidence, no matter what.

I know I am not alone in this. Paul’s was the quiet voice that guided many a committee—suggesting, enlightening, gently leading, helping a group find clarity and consensus on even the most contentious of topics. His unwavering commitment to all things George School shines in him, the brightest of inner lights. Paul has faith in the school. He has faith in us. He teaches us. He coaches us. He inspires us.

As a teacher and as a coach, Paul does not like to blow his own horn, yet he has been instrumental in orchestrating the success of his students and athletes. The key? It’s major! Paul’s quietly joyous, stupendously funny, Quaker heart, mind, and soul. No, that is not a contradiction.

He delights in spreading light through Latin digressions and history homilies, disguised lessons in the math classroom, on the golf course, on the soccer pitch. He sees the Light in his students and athletes, no matter how dim that Light may appear to others.

Paul has faith in his students. He teaches, he coaches, he encourages, he inspires. Soon his conviction becomes their confidence, their willingness to work hard and take risks. Coaching in the classroom, teaching on the field or court, Paul’s standards are high, his expectations aspirational, his results kind of phenomenal. His fingers may be forever coated in chalk dust, but his forward thinking and openness to ideas and change, all while drawing lessons from the past, have kept Paul on the leading edge in the many roles he has taken on.

Now, Paul is retiring. There will be an empty spot on the meetinghouse bench. He is passing the chalk, the whistle, the tape recorder, the keys to the van over to younger, greener hands. Finally, he can enjoy family on his own terms. He can indulge himself rooting for the Giants, cheering the Red Sox, playing golf with buddies, watching World Cup, or any kind of football cup, from prime seats in stadiums around the globe.

George School shaped you as a student and as a young teacher. You have paid that forward, letting your life speak as you have shaped so much of what George School is today. On many a George School soccer jacket it is written in Latin: forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit. Perhaps one day it will please us to remember these things. No perhaps about it. You will no longer tread the paths of the campus, but your footsteps will continue to echo as others attempt to fill your shoes.

May the time with family flourish. May the Giants finally have a winning record, the Red Sox win another pennant, the golf greens be fair, the soccer games amazing. You have time for new endeavors, new dreams, new aspirations: may they all come true.

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