Jon Stanghon May 1944 – September 2012
I first met Jon in 1975. We both started teaching at Corsham School at about the same time. He prided himself on the fact that he’d had a ‘proper job’ before becoming a teacher. He thought his previous experience in industry helped him identify with the needs of his pupils, particularly those who developed good practical skills. He also enjoyed teaching pupils with learning difficulties.
In his previous job he designed the back-up undercarriage system on Concorde at Filton, Bristol. His experience of test flights left him, he said, with a lifelong fear of flying- he knew too much about what could go wrong!
Jon approached life wholeheartedly with humour and scepticism. A colleague in the maths team, around the early 1980s, said most of us lived in the slow – middle lane but Jon always lived in the fast lane.
Jon’s late parents were life – long members of the Communist party. Perhaps they fostered his non-conformity, which he nurtured in me, together with a taste for strong lager! When home economics was ‘abolished’ and food technology replaced it he passed on his love of cooking with a curry school which took place in technology classes. He often spoke of his years’ teaching at Corsham as the best of times.
When Jon retired, 1993-4, he moved to an idyllic cottage in south Brittany. He had bought and renovated Le Petit Chateau several years before. He learned his French, which had a great vocabulary, spoken with an appalling accent, in the local bars. When he bought the cottage he was a phenomenon and was posted on the front page of the local newspaper. An Englishman buying a rundown cottage in rural France- sacre bleu! He was a minor celebrity. He played in a Breton pop band and cultivated three acres of land, growing vegetables such as broad beans which were ‘pour les animaux et les Anglais’!
Ten years ago he moved to Lorient and married Nikki, a macrobiotic Buddhist who was a maths professor at Lorient University. He beat cancer and discovered what he called ‘non industrial food.’ His motto might have been
‘If you can do it, why it not?’
He is survived by his daughters Emma and Caroline.
by Richard Olver
There will be a gathering to remember Jon Stanghon on wed 24th October at the Flemish Weaver in Corsham at about 12.00 until 2.00 pm