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'Live wire' Hart fondly remembered

August 09, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

"Live wire" and "innovator" were terms used Monday to describe Richard Harvey Hart, a Martinsburg native who became known for his unique teaching style at Williamsport High School.

Hart, 54, died July 20 at Morgantown (W.Va.) Public Library, where he worked for 10 years.

At Williamsport High School, Hart started a daily student newspaper and a daily radio program in which students gave news broadcasts over the school's public address system, friends said.

Hart also provided students with albums, which the students played before the start of classes in the morning, said friend Bill Stover.

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"He was a live wire," said Philip Bufithis, a retired Shepherd University English professor who knew Hart in the 1970s.

Hart taught English and journalism at Williamsport High School and enjoyed a good challenge in the classroom, said friend Buzz Poland of Martinsburg.

Hart often taught students who other teachers had trouble reaching and he developed a reputation for the skill, said Poland, who grew up with Hart.

Hart coached the tennis team and taught a class called the Poetry of Rock Music.

"He was somewhat of an innovator in teaching," said Poland, owner of Union Sales Dodge in Martinsburg.

Hart started teaching at Williamsport High School in 1972 and worked there for about 20 years, Poland said.

He was a tireless advocate of reading and was instrumental in winning grants for the Morgantown Public Library to foster reading and supply families with books.

He was involved in the library's expansion into the historic Garlow House and led tours of the home.

Hart was born in Martinsburg in 1950 and graduated in 1968 from Martinsburg High School, where he was voted the wittiest by his classmates.

Hart was a 1972 graduate of Shepherd College and was a member of the award-winning debate team.

A memorial to celebrate Hart's life will be Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Morgantown Public Library, 373 Spruce St.

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