Hugh C. Moeller

Extension Faculty

Faculty Meeting
January 6, 1940

The members of the faculty are asked to meet in the faculty room at three o'clock on Monday, January 8.

Action will be taken on the following prepared statement:

The members of the Faculty of the Iowa State Teachers College and the teachers of the public schools of Iowa have lost a well-loved friend by the death of Hugh C. Moeller.

For thirty-eight years he rendered faithful and progressive leadership in the public schools of the State of Iowa, as teacher, principal, city and county superintendent, and as a member of the faculty of this college. Hundreds of children in our state have been the unconscious beneficiaries of his devotion.

Teachers, principals, and superintendents in the public schools of our state found that he not only knew their problems and understood their unattained goals, but that he was able also to put their feet on paths which led to better teaching.

The staff of the Extension Service with whom he was most intimately associated, found him not only a careful worker and helpful counselor, but a trusted friend of deep human sympathies. He was courageous when he faced his own difficulties. He was understanding when he faced those of others.

Those of us who knew him best marveled at his fortitude and persistence in carrying on his labors under the handicap of failing health and strength. The memory of his unfaltering courage and devotion to his work as a teacher will serve as an inspiration to all of us in the years to come.

To his wife and children, whom many of us know well and honor, we extend our sincere sympathy. We are privileged to some degree, to enter into their sorrow, since it is also ours. For the man that he was and for the good that he has done, may light perpetual shine upon him.

Irving H. Hart
John R. Slacks
Gerald E. Knoff


Eighty years ago, Horace Mann, perhaps the greatest educational leader America has produced, delivered his last public address to the students of Antioch College, closing with these significant words, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Today this group of friends and neighbors is gathered here to pay tribute by our presence and active sympathy to a man whose whole life has been a continued example of the acceptance and realization of Horace Mann's challenge.

Sometimes in these troublous days when the headlines scream with stories of brutality and ruthlessness, when hope for humanity seems almost lost in those sad lands across the seas, we may, in moments of weakness and despondency, lose something of our basic faith and confidence in the ultimate triumph of truth over error; of right over wrong.

In dark moments such as these, I would have you turn to contemplate such a pattern of living as Hugh Moeller has set for us, a pattern of living for the good of others, of fighting constantly and persistently against the heaviest of odds for victory over the forces of ignorance and prejudice, for the right of the American child to his heritage of freedom of thought and of self-expression.

I have known Hugh Moeller for more than twenty-five years. I am proud to remember that I have shared with him the joys of battle for the cause of the education of the boys and girls of Iowa who have been and are growing to manhood and-womanhood on the Iowa farms, and with him have shared, too, in certain measured fruits of victory.

Hugh was himself an Iowa farm boy, a product, so far as his elementary education was concerned, of the Iowa rural schools, a teacher in these schools, an outstanding leader in the cause of equalization of educational opportunity for farm boys and girls, an eminent and widely recognized administrator of public education, a markedly successful teacher of teachers, and an author of note in the preparation of textual materials for the use of the children in our schools.

For more than thirteen years we have been associated in the extension service of the Iowa State Teachers College. Of his service, I can say, without exaggeration, that no one in Iowa has contributed more to the improvement of instruction than he. Hugh Moeller possessed to a rare degree an intuitive insight into the problems confronting the elementary teacher and an unusual ability to point the way to the solution of these problems. He was too, a great teacher of children, and was able always to accomplish that most difficult of tasks, the demonstration, in the classroom with children, of the art of teaching.

He had, with all these qualities, a fundamental philosophy of life and a breadth of vision which enabled him to fit the minutiae of classroom procedure into the major patterns of living and to make the process of education for the children a real unfolding of personality and a real development of character.

His dauntless courage in overcoming physical handicaps has been a marvel and an inspiration to his associates. His consistent optimism has many times for me and countless others helped us to lift our eyes to the horizon and press on when we were tempted to falter on the way.

Hugh Moeller stands, to us who knew him best, as an example of what a man can be and can do in a democracy such as ours. He has built for himself a living monument in the minds and hearts of the thousands of pupils and teachers whom he has influenced for the better. The waves of this influence have been spreading and will continue to spread in ever-widening circles to the end of time. Such a life is never ended.

Of our friend we may truly say, in the words of the poet Browning, he was
"One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward.
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed though right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake."

Irving H. Hart
December 20, 1939

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