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Longtime Ireton teacher dies at age 78

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Ron Umbeck, a former teacher at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, died July 13 due to complications from a fall. He began teaching math at Ireton in 1968 and retired in 2019, though he continued to serve as the school’s It’s Academic coach and as a tutor at the school’s math support center.


“He is now at peace in heaven and I guarantee that he met St. Peter with a math book, a crossword puzzle, an It’s Academic prep sheet and a Bishop Ireton pin,” said Head of School Kathleen McNutt in an email to the Ireton community. “He loved this school, but more importantly, he loved his students and his Bishop Ireton family.”


Umbeck was born Aug. 14, 1941. He grew up in Missouri and graduated from the University of San Diego. His first teaching job was at Roosevelt High School in Washington, where he worked for three years. He began his tenure at Bishop Ireton in 1967. Umbeck was a parishioner of Queen of Apostles Church in Alexandria and served as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion there.


Stephen Crooker, an alumnus and current faculty member of Ireton, said he was inspired by Umbeck’s teaching prowess. “Ron was among the legendary Ireton teachers that formed and molded me into an educator by his profound example,” he said. “Ron could write all day on the chalkboard and never have less than a perfect straight set of lines. Much like his career, (it was) amazing."


“I wouldn’t be a math teacher without Ron’s influence. He was beyond a shadow of a doubt the best math teacher I ever had,” said Thomas Cogliano, an alumnus and current Ireton teacher. “He was a man who possessed widespread knowledge, from ancient Greek to music. He was a man with a most brilliant mathematical mind and a most gentle soul. He was so dedicated to the mission of Catholic education.”




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020