Remembering Jerry DePolo

It is with sadness that we share that former faculty member Jerry DePolo died on July 19, 2022.

It is with sadness that we share that faculty emeritus Jerry DePolo died on July 19, 2022. (Read DePolo's obituary here.)

DePolo taught math at Taft from 1985 until his retirement in 2002. "Jerry was one of the most beloved teachers on campus," Head of School Willy MacMullen '78 wrote in an email to Taft employees. "When he arrived at Taft, Jerry had already written a legendary career teaching in Watertown: he couldn't walk into Daveluys for dinner without grown graduates calling out to him."

DePolo first came to teach at Taft as part of the Summer School and was soon hired by former Headmaster Lance Odden to join the faculty. Lois joined him at Taft as a teacher the following year and their three daughters — Anna '89, Beth '92, and Sarah '94 — soon became students. 

"Jerry loved math—the puzzling, questioning, solving, testing. His classes were lively and fun—and funny," MacMullen wrote. "Students could tell he loved the material and, even more, loved being with them. Perhaps the Bulletin article at his retirement, penned by Al Reiff '80, said it all in its title: In It for the Kids."

DePolo always seemed to be smiling, MacMullen remembered, "he believed every student could succeed; he would do anything to help them achieve; he gave extra help at all hours. There were a lot of students who said he was the best teacher they had, and that could mean Algebra II or AB calculus."

"For colleagues, he was a mentor and friend: the kind of teacher who always volunteered to help cover a class, to cross-read a test, to help a new teacher, to share a joke in the dining hall. Afternoons he was at games, and Sunday evenings he was in his office. He loved being at Taft, and his sense of gratitude that he was there was inspiring and infectious. And always there was laughter. People just wanted to be around him, to be one-tenth as good a teacher and person."

DePolo's obituary is available here.

Service and Scholarship/Contribution Details

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, July 25, 10 a.m., at St. John the Evangelist Church, 574 Main St., Watertown. Burial will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, 669 Platt Road. Friends and family are asked to meet directly at the church. Calling hours will be Sunday, July 24, 4 to 6 p.m., at Hickcox Funeral Home, 195 Main St., Watertown. The family requests that masks be worn.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Lois and Gerald DePolo Memorial Scholarship at The Taft School. Checks may be made out to The Taft School with the scholarship name in the memo and mailed to The Taft School Development Office, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795, or donations can be made at Donations can also be given to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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