Allise Grenberg Consumate Teacher, Lifelong Friend

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. Author Unknown

The few words I share here will never adequately describe a person whose presence in memory remains a force within me even to this day.

Allise Grenberg was my English and history teacher beginning in 7th grade and through my three years in academy. At first, I was a bit afraid of her — strong, outspoken woman that she was. But ever so soon, I observed her passion was coupled with compassion and her strength accompanied by sensitivity. She taught with fervor and spoke with conviction. She was excited about what she taught and her excitement infused the classroom. She struck many of us with a love for learning and a love for God that endure to this day. I believe God placed her in my life for that reason. I know she changed hundreds of lives with her teaching, certainly; but also with her love for us, belief in us, and her belief in God as well.

Mrs. G., as we often called her, was not particularly overt about her Christian experience: it was simply a part of her. She didn't have to talk a lot about it; she lived it. I never questioned her devotion to God because her commitment to teaching, to her students, to her church, made it clear. As certainly as I write these words, I know she was securely in the arms of God, and He walked with her throughout her life — the joyful times and the difficult times.

Her influence upon my life extended well beyond the classroom to dozens of letters she wrote to me during the last 35 years. What a dedicated, lifelong friend. What a dear, true friend. I tried to thank her on multiple occasions, with my heart full of love and gratitude, but some things are so strongly felt that words simply cannot wrap around them.

And so I await a day in the eternal home when I and her other students can surround Allise Grenberg in a great gathering, a great reunion with our friend and Savior Jesus Christ. Our reunion won't be the only one. I can envision hundreds, thousands of other students and teachers, with arms about each other, in heaven at last."Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Allise Grenberg taught in both in elementary and secondary levels at Seventh-day Adventist institutions within the Northwest and beyond.

Susan D. Bungard writes from College Place, Wash., where she serves as an instructor for the Walla Walla University School of Theology. This article is adapted from a tribute she wrote upon Allise Grenberg's passing in January 2010.

July 01, 2010 / Perspective
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