The New York Times Sunday Magazine pays tribute to August Mark Vaz

1091

 

On its edition of December 29, among those lost in 2013 the New York Times Sunday Magazine included a tribute to August Mark Vaz, who passed away September 12 of last year.
The following text, written by his daughter and acclaimed writer Katherine Vaz, was published in the New York Times.
“August Mark Vaz was such a beloved teacher at San Leandro High School (California) that his classroom is still called “The Temple” by students long since grown. My father’s bust of Virgil was featured in an official Senior Prank: Each year, students kidnapped Virgil, and we received ransom notes and hilarious photos. Virgil in bed; Virgil wearing glasses and drinking beer; Virgil buckled into a car. Dad would traipse the aisles of The Temple, pretending to be upset, demanding Virgil’s return. He had a near-perfect record at guessing the ringleader’s identity, unnerving everyone with his psychic powers. (Virgil always got returned!) This photo shows my father with his revered sidekick. When Dad retired, Jeffrey Jordan — a kidnapper! — presented my father with a diploma for Virgil. Jeff sent a white bouquet when my father died, having learned from Dad’s “History of the Far East” course that this is the color of mourning. Artist, historian, gardener, and pioneer in writing about the Portuguese in America — Dad grew up in the Azores — some of his last words, before he passed into spirit, comprised the Portuguese Night Blessing. As children, we asked him for it every evening before we went to sleep”.

(First published in the New York Times, December 29, 2013, “The Lives They Loved.”)