John Jacob Glessner obituary photo
 
In Memory of

John Jacob Glessner

October 28, 1931 - August 8, 2017

Obituary


GLESSNER, JOHN JACOB III
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and teacher at Pingree
School, South Hamilton, MA died in Maine on August 8, 2017, after a short
illness. His three children, John, Ian and Charlotte and his wife, Susie,
were with him. John was about to turn 86 years old.
While he had a distinguished career as a lawyer at Ropes and Gray and
Eastern Gas and Fuel his real love was teaching. At the age of 60 he
made a major career change and started teaching US History and the
Constitution at Pingree School...

GLESSNER, JOHN JACOB III
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and teacher at Pingree
School, South Hamilton, MA died in Maine on August 8, 2017, after a short
illness. His three children, John, Ian and Charlotte and his wife, Susie,
were with him. John was about to turn 86 years old.
While he had a distinguished career as a lawyer at Ropes and Gray and
Eastern Gas and Fuel his real love was teaching. At the age of 60 he
made a major career change and started teaching US History and the
Constitution at Pingree School in Hamilton Mass. For the next twenty five
years until his retirement in June of this year he was passionately engaged
with the school, his students, teachers and former students. Dr. Kevin
Schwartz '96 summed it up this way "It is no exaggeration to say that
excepting my parents no one has had as profound influence on the course
of my academic life and career as John Glessner"
John was the son of a Harvard English professor and was born in Boston in
1931. While his father served as a World War II naval officer the family
lived all over the United States before settling down at a dairy farm in
Ipswich Mass. After graduating from Harvard, John was drafted into the
Army during the Korean War and served as a member of the Army's
counter intelligence core. One of his duties was to interrogate soldiers
who had returned from captivity at the hands of the Chinese Army. John
also served in the Pacific for six months and participated in the 1954 series
of hydrogen bomb tests on the Enewetak atoll. When John left the Army
he enrolled at Columbia Law School and then spent the next eighteen
years practicing law in Boston. Early on in his legal career John
participated in a supporting role for a legal team arguing a case before the
Supreme Court. This was a watershed event that led, over time. to his
passionate curiosity about constitutional law and the role of the Supreme
Court. John was always more interested in the intellectual background of
the law and how the genesis of law is revealed in conversations and
debates surrounding key Supreme Court decisions.
John started teaching in the History Department at Pingree School in 1992.
The number of alumni who directly credit John with equipping them with the
knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed not just in college but in their
ongoing professional lives is legendary "were it not for John Glessner, I
would not be where I am today" is a common refrain.
For many summers, John went to the Gaelic College on Cape Breton
Island to study bagpiping. He also participated in a piping program in
Barga, Italy and piped at events at the Pingree School and on the athletic
fields of Middlebury College.
While John and his family lived in Ipswich his real love was Maine where he
sailed as a young man and lived during the summers in Muscongus Bay.
It was here on his beloved Otter Island that he died. He is survived by his
wife, Susie; son John and his wife Tracy and their children Emma and
Catherine, of Yarmouth, Maine: son Ian of Ipswich, MA; and daughter Char
and her husband Jonathan Monié and their children Henry and Lily of
Ipswich, MA.
A celebration of John's life will be held at Ascension Memorial Church, 31
County St., Ipswich on September 30th at 10:30 am.
In lieu of flowers, to honor John's love of learning and teaching,
contributions may be made in his memory to Pingree School in support of
student financial aid and academic programs (Pingree School, 537
Highland Street, S. Hamilton, MA 01982 /www.pingree.org).