Long-time M-A biology teacher and former swimming coach Rick Longyear passes away at age 57

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on July 23, 2018

Post image for Long-time M-A biology teacher and former swimming  coach Rick Longyear passes away at age 57

Writes Menlo-Atherton High School  principal Simone Rick-Kennel in a special edition of the school newsletter, BearNotes:

“It’s unusual to deliver sad news mid summer, however, with a heavy heart I want to let you know that beloved teacher and coach, Rick Longyear, who has been part of the M-A community for 36 years, passed away this week after a short battle with cancer. As a longtime Biology teacher, many freshmen (and possibly even some parents of freshman) learned about cells and genetics from Rick. Additionally, he coached M-A swimming for many years and worked at PAL swim meets.

“Last week, a small group of us were able to honor Rick with his induction into the M-A Athletic Hall of Fame. The image of him holding his certificate is one we can all cherish and remember as we think about his contributions to our school community. He will be honored [along with other inductees] at the M-A Athletic Hall of Fame banquet on October 13, 2018.

“Our thoughts are with his wife Sally and son CJ. Once we know the family’s wishes to honor Rick’s memory, we will pass that on to our community.”

The Daily Journal profiled Rick in May, three months after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver, bone and esophagus cancer. His widow, Sally, is participating in the upcoming Relay for Life to be held at Burgess Park on August 11 & 12, raising funds in Rick’s memory.

Photo by Simone Rick-Kennel; pictured in back row from left M-A co-athletic director Steven Kryger, good friend Paul Besse, Rick Longyear, M-A teacher Chris Rubin, M-A teacher Pam Wimberly; front row from left just retired M-A Latin teacher Madeleine Besse and co-athletic director Paul Snow

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Borba July 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Sorry to hear sad news from my school.
Class ’65

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Abel Lemus-Page July 23, 2018 at 2:54 pm

He was such a kind friendly teacher. I didnt have him directly but a lot of my classmates did.

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Laura (Holl) Quanbeck July 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

So sorry to hear this news. I swam at M-A back in the late 80s. Even though I stunk, Rick never made me feel like I did. Hugs and prayers for his wife and son.

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Lakisha Armstrong Ireland (Dr.) July 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Mr. Longyear was my Biology teacher. I remember in DNA testing in his class. I remember his smile. May his legacy continue to live on in the lives of the students he touched.

As an educator, I truly appreciate ALL that he gave for his students.

Class of 93
M-A “You Know”

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Sofaia Cavu Kreider July 23, 2018 at 7:53 pm

I was just on an M-A school tour last week for our reunion recalling, with a smile, the great times in Mr. Longyear’s bio class as we passed his classroom. His enthusiasm for all that he taught was contagious. His smile and laughter were too. He will be missed.

My heart goes out to the family as well as prayers.

Class of 1993

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Margaret Nacagilevu July 23, 2018 at 11:24 pm

Mr. Longyear was so enthusiastic about Biology! Very Big small and at times he’d teach class by writing on the board & projector because he wouldn’t stay home with laryngitis. Great teacher! Will never forget. #ClassOf95 #GoBears

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Anne Nile July 24, 2018 at 7:39 am

I am sorry to hear this news. Mr. Longyear was one of the best teachers and coaches I had. I enjoyed swimming for him for 4 years and his Bio class. I will always remember him as an integral part of my M-A life.

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April Duhring July 24, 2018 at 8:49 am

My heart goes out to his family. He was such an amazing teacher & made a huge impact on my life. He knew I was going through tough times at home & was struggling with my studies. He took the extra care & time to help me get through it & go on to graduate. So grateful for you for seeing my potential & not giving up on me!

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Paul Fjeldsted July 24, 2018 at 11:54 am

Pretty sure I gavee Mr Longyear a few gray hairs in science class. H e really was a great teacher. Sad to hear of his passing. He inspired me to pursue biology in undergrad. Prayers to his family.

Class of 2002

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Bruce Zeiser July 24, 2018 at 5:56 pm

This is truly sad news.
My daughters (Alli ’01, Katie ’05) each played 3-4 years of varsity water polo for Coach Longyear. One of his greatest assets was patience… absolutely essential when dealing with these high-spirited young women and their teammates. Thanks, Rick!
Best wishes to the Longyear Family

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Mackenzie Sokol July 24, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Ricks Biology class was always my favorite. Because of the fascinating subject matter, but also because he was fun and knew how to teach kids!…. himself not being too much older than us back then, haha.
But Rick also loved everything about M-A. He would often come support our water polo team each season ‘87-‘91 with fellow MA coach Kent Johnson and Ted Minnis. Rick was my sister Allison’s swim coach all 4 year a and he always tried to recruit me for spring swim team… but baseball was my spring thing… but I was always torn because Rick was such a great guy to be around and a great teacher and coach…. He always had a great story or joke and that voice I’ll never forget…. Thank you Rick for all your years of service as a teacher, coach, and everyone’s friend.

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Steve Broyles July 24, 2018 at 8:38 pm

Rick inspired me in the pool and in class. I remember him fondly and am sorry to hear that he has passed.

I remember that after each race, he would share our times, compared with our season’s best, lifetime best, and compared to previous MA stars…. this was before personal computing was commonplace… he wrote it out by hand. That is the sort of above-and-beyond personal effort that he brought to his teaching and to his coaching.

We were lucky to have him.

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Kendall July 24, 2018 at 9:48 pm

My heart goes out to his family. I was one of the many swimmers he coached. He was a great coach and I still swim and think of him as the one who got me going in that great sport.

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Elidia Tafoya July 25, 2018 at 12:01 am

Condolences to the family! He had the best personality as a teacher, and he will truly be missed. Sending my thoughts and prayers to the family during this difficult time.

Class of 2002

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Coach Tom McRae July 25, 2018 at 12:51 am

What an AMAZING man, and a life well lived helping so many. Over more then a decade I had the honor of watching this coach in action. Spend countless hours making sure each swimmer had his/her times from the Bears weekly meet. And exactly where the individual stood on the all time list in MA history.
Thanks for a lifetime of memories!

MA Swimming 2002-12

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Douglas Wright October 5, 2018 at 7:48 am

Coach Longyear was an essential and heavily influential coach in high school. He allowed me to train with my club team and compete for the high school team. My senior year when I was burning out on year around swimming he allowed me to come back and train with the high school team full time in preparation for sections. I was fortunate to swim on an All-American relay with Yusuki Bannai, Doug Smith and Carry Butcher. I also swam my fastest high school 100 fly under his coaching. He had principles, he could be tough but he also knew how to be fun and goofy. I never was bright enough to take any of his science classes but from what I have read and what i always hear he was a fantastic teacher. I am fortunate to coach hs water polo and swimming and to teach hs now. He was a big influence on me as an athlete and eventually me as a coach. He always treated me well. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends.

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Enrique Gonzalez October 16, 2018 at 11:11 pm

I just saw this post tonight. I am in shock!!!! Mr Longyear
was my biology teacher. We did DNA sequencing for the first time
Thanks to a grant. It was the first year it was done.
I am so so sorry for what has happened. Liver , bones and
Esophagus is a lot to have cancer in. I am in shock with
This news. I will pray for his soul before I sleep. He will always live on
In my memories. God help his family

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