Harold Frank Sheets III

Harold Frank Sheets III

Died October 27, 2010

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Harold Sheets lived in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela before his dad, who worked for Mobil Oil, was transferred back to the States in time for him to start his freshman year at The Gunnery in Washington, CT.

Hal was preceded at Yale by his father, Harold Frank Sheets, Jr., Y’35S, and his grandfather, H.F. Sheets, Y’03. While at Yale, Hal majored in architecture and was a member of Timothy Dwight, playing on its football team and rowing on its crew. As a freshman, he earned numerals in crew.

His wife, Ladd, remembers: “Hal taught at The Gunnery for two years after graduating from Yale. We married in 1967 and then spent several years at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA, where he taught Spanish, English and History before heading to University of Texas (Austin) to work on his M.A. and Ph.D.in American studies. In 1975 he took a job at St. John’s School in Houston teaching Spanish and U.S. history while finishing up his Ph.D. in American civilization at the University of Texas in 1978.

During Hal’s time at St. John’s, we spent a year in the Midlands of England on a Fulbright teaching exchange. In 1985, we moved to Longmeadow, MA, where he was asstistant. head of school and taught history and Spanish at MacDuffie School in Springfield, MA, for six years. There followed a few years as Upper School Head at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, OH, and several years as assistant head of school at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, OH, before heading for New Orleans and Isidore Newman School in 1999, where he was History Department chair until his death. Founded in 1903, Isidore Newman is a pre-K through 12, independent, co-educational, non-denominational day school.

He loved and respected his students and always enjoyed a good intellectual conversation. He struggled with bladder cancer for two years but continued to teach up until a few weeks before he died.”

The Class of 2011 at Isidore Newman dedicated its Homecoming to him: “With his lumberjack flannel button-down, his chili-pepper suspenders, his tweed blazer with elbow patches, his coffee cup with the word he and his brother made-up, Dr. Sheets is the epitome of an elegant, engaging New England professor (with some spunk). Dr. Sheets draws people in; he transforms people from kids to students, from students to scholars. He demands the highest quality of performance and effort, and in return, students produce the best they possibly can for him.”

Hal’s observations about reading essays submitted for our 35th reunion may have spoken for others “ I again found myself regretting the friendships I neglected to make while in New Haven…(but) don’t regret ‘Daily Themes,’ … all of Scully’s courses I could fit into my schedule…and learning the joys of afternoon beers…”

Hal passed away on October 27, 2010, survived by his wife, Ladd, daughter, Abigail, and son, Jacob.

Charles Gaspar remembers:
What a great friend Hal was! He and I went to the same high school (The Gunnery) but didn’t really know each other well so our decision to room together was an experiment. After freshman year, we continued to live together or across from each other for the next three years, along with Tom Brownell and Rich Halloran. Hal had such energy, and was so creative, that he engaged each of us in many hours of discussion and debate. After graduation – though our paths separated – we did stay in touch, and his work, as a teacher and educational leader must have invigorated his students and colleagues. He’s missed.