BRISTOL BITS: Remembering a favorite retired social studies teacher

Published on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 21:41
Written by Bob Montgomery

This time in 2003, I had a short segment on retired Bristol Eastern teacher John Whitcomb and I’m sharing it again 15 years later:

Lorraine Duquette passed some kinds words this way about John Whitcomb, retired head of the Social Studies Department at Bristol Eastern who died on Feb. 1. He was as likable as they came and Lorraine recalled how her kids, Laurie and Ron, had him as a teacher and how she got to see and know him in recent years as a fellow member of the Stroke Club.

“He smiled a lot and was special to the club,” she said.

Former Har-Bur Middle School math teacher Jim Masters, a 1963 Bristol Eastern graduate and now a substitute at Bristol Eastern, said, “It’s because of John Whitcomb that I wanted to be a teacher.”

I didn’t have Mr. Whitcomb as a teacher, but saw his friendliness and enjoyed his kind comments about me on several occasions. He was a special man!

John Wartonick

I received an email from a lady who met John Wartonick at Amberwoods in Farmington while she was on business. She informed me that she read a piece I had on him in this column and he was pleased to have been remembered. She told him that she’d send me an email to say he was doing well. This brought a warm smile to his face. So, once again, take the time to send him a note or give him a visit. I believe in doing one good deed a day, it’s very rewarding.

Carl Moller

I received an email from Tom Muccino from San Diego. He was a classmate and friend of the late Carl Moller, a state trooper canine handler who was killed in 1976 by a drunken driver while aiding a motorist on I-84 in West Hartford while off duty. He writes, in part:

“One of the things I keep in my copy of the ‘Lance’ (the senior class yearbook for Bristol Eastern in 1962) is a picture from the Washington Post (where I was living at the time), dated 18 Feb. 1976. It was taken at Carl’s funeral at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and shows Connecticut State Trooper Warren Seeley with his comforting hand on the shoulder of Carl’s 9-year-old daughter Anna J. Moller.”

Tom is also helping me track down Carl’s daughter. I would like at some time for classmates of his or friends around town who knew him to write a few words on him, to be sent to me and to be forwarded to her. Still looking for her, though...getting close.

I also had a call awhile back from Bob Barnett who said his sons helped Carl’s mother out with things after she became ill. Some of us remember her, Mrs. Josephine Moller, as a teacher at Stafford School before transferring to Bristol Eastern when it first opened up. She took Carl’s death hard, as one would expect, and people like the Barnett boys did many good deeds for this woman.

Shout out

To John Torvinen.

Kathy Archibald

When Kathy Archibald joined the Bristol Tramps Committee - about two years ago, I believe - she hit the floor running and hasn’t stopped yet. She’s taken on some tough assignments and is more than earning her pay, that as a standout volunteer.

James McCusker

Many of us knew John McCusker, former car dealership manager in Bristol. He was a WWII serviceman and while overseas in 1944, his father, James, a New Departure employee, was the city’s general manager of the United War and Community Fund campaign.

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 21:41. Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2018 21:44.