Nicholas C. Polos
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Dr. Nicholas "Doc" Polos, 89, former University of La Verne History professor and long time teacher at Claremont High School, died April 8, 2006. Nick was born March 10, 1917, in Boston, MA. He met Ethel Bach in New York City in the mid 1930s. The couple married, and in 1938, Richard "Dick" Polos was born to the couple. The family moved to California in 1948, after Nick's military service brought him to the West Coast, where he marveled at the sunny climate. Nick was a Naval Gunner in both WWII and the Korean War, receiving many medals and ribbons for his service. Later in life, Nick served in the Air Force for 17 ye ars as a Warrant Officer and Senior Instructor, teaching junior officers college credit courses. Nick studies brought him to Pomona College after WWII, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa honoree, leading to his graduating magna cum laude. He was a Woodrow Wilson fellow for Princeton University, and a Rhodes scholar appointee. Nick's education continued at Harvard University for his M.A., leading to his doctorate degree in History from University of California, Berkeley. An accomplished author, Nick published 9 books and 82 manuscripts in the fields of history and education. His last book, entitled San Dimas: Preserving the Western Spirit (1990), won four book awards including its recognition by the California Historical Society for local history. His wife Ethel preceded Nick in death February of 2003. Richard, their son, died in March of 2000. The Polos family was well known in civic and social circles in Claremont, actively involved in Pomona College alumni work, local politics, education issues, and they enjoyed their time with young people---mostly Nick's former students. Nick is survived by his nephew James Polos and his wife, Susan, great-nephew Thomas Polos, great-nieces Louisa Polos (New York) and Alyssa Love (Virginia), Eileen Jerabek (New York), sister-in-law Anne Bach (New York), nephew Michael Bach and his wife, Cecelia (Maryland), niece Meg Maholski, great-nephews William and Sean Maholski (New York) , and first cousin Claire Kakasatis (Massachusetts). The Polos also included as part of their family, the John and Martha Hernandez family of Claremont. The families grew ever closer as the Hernandez' raised their four boys, all of whom were joyfully nurtured by Ethel and Nick. The sons are Robert, Douglas, Johnny and David. A gravesite ceremony is scheduled for 10:00 AM, Friday, April 21, 2006, at Oak Park Cemetery, Claremont; a memorial service 11:00 AM at Claremont Church of Christ; and a social to be held at Seaver House, Pomona College, Claremont, CA. Memorial contributions may be made in Nick Polos' name to the Salvation Army, the City of Hope, and the Claremont American Youth Soccer Organization. Todd Memorial Chapel, Pomona, is in charge of arrangements.

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Published in Daily Bulletin on Apr. 15, 2006.
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19 entries
May 15, 2006
We were very saddened by the loss of our dear cousin Nick. His Mom Constance (Costoula) and my Mom Helen were sisters. Nick & Ethel & their beloved son Richard were very dear to us. I can remember growing up with Nick in Astoria, mostly the good times, and when they were first married, then had Richard. We saw them on their trips East and when Nick was at school in Cambridge, MA. It was always a joy to receive a letter from Nick, with all his activities. It is a tremendous loss, and I'm sure, Martha & John, you will miss him every day.
Love, Claire & Jim
Claire Kakatsakis
April 30, 2006
We wish to extend our thanks to all of those who attended Nick's memorial services, sent cards, flowers or other tokens of sympathy to acknowledge Nick's passing.

He was one of a kind, a true American patriot, and a kind and gentle person.

Given ALL Nick was able to accomplish in his life, it is appropriate that his headstone reads
"Magnum Opus" (trans: Great Work).
John & Martha Hernandez
April 24, 2006
Nick was my mothers cousin. I met Nick and Ethel in the mid 1960's when they would come east during the summer. We saw them every summer for quite a few years. I have very vivid memories of Fishing with Nick at Breezy Point and also his stories of World War 2 and the Korean War. When my mother passed away, Nick came East and we had a really nice vist at a difficult time. My family and I were in California in 1998 and missed Nick (he was at sea teaching) but had a nice visit with Ethel. We miss them both very much and remember them very fondly. I will miss writing to Nick and seeing his letters.
Dave Klaus
April 21, 2006
My father, Peter Nicholas, was Nick's cousin. Although I never knew Nick that well, we communicated via letters, mostly while I was in college. He was always a favorite of my father. And, because of that, he was a very special person to me also.
Lauren Nicholas
April 21, 2006
Tolerant Teacher and Faithful friend

Patient, understanding,motivational, and caring to each and every student. Time was never a factor in his association with his students. He made every student believe in his own capabilities. Nick always said"history repeats itself" but no on ever did or ever will teach history like Nick Polos. He left us with appreciation for history and mankind. Thanks, Nick. '57
Pam Garr Herrlinger and Julia Hearst Stradling
April 19, 2006
It's almost 46 years since I attended Mr. Polos's class at Claremont High (Class of '60). I still find myself making decisions that I can directly trace to things he taught. He was for me, and for the classmates I've talked to, the most influential teacher I ever had. I'd be remisss if I didn't mention that my dad took a class from Mr. Polos at Mt. SAC at night in 1961. We're a 2-Polos family.
Bob Allen
April 18, 2006
With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye he made history fun and interesting. He was a great teacher and a special man. It's been a long time since I was in his classroom but I've always remembered him with great respect.
Carolyn (Ritchie) Bone (Class of '57)
April 17, 2006
Polos family:

As ULV Alumnus Dr. Polos encouraged my love of history and the lore of California. Much of what he taught me remains with me today in my professional and personal life. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

Bill Ruh
Councilmember - City of Montclair
Bill Ruh
April 17, 2006
Mr. Polos was a favorite instructor of mine at Claremont High School. I was a new student in October 1958 (Class of 1960), and Mr. Polos always had a kind word for me. History was not my best subject, but he made it interesting - you wanted to learn - to excel for him as well as yourself. He will be remembered forever. My deepest sympathy to his family.
Christine Kaggie
April 17, 2006
A major motivator, Dr. Polos taught us that it was going to be a mean world "out there" and that we needed to be prepared and fight for what was right. And, I've experienced that. Thanks for the preparation Dr. P! Your words still ring in my brain.
Jerry Kelly (Class of '60)
April 17, 2006
My deepest sympathy to the family of Sir Nick. I was fortunate enough to have two years of classes and three years of his guidance until graduation in 1960. He was always teaching but always in subtle ways. History was the subject but life was the lesson. I will miss his wisdom.
Kenneth Morgan
April 17, 2006
As a CHS alumnus (class of '58) and student in Nick's CHS history class and subsequent career naval officer for 20 years it is remarkable that I knew nothing of his notable service to this country nor his academic achievements until I read his obtiuary. Shame on me! Even when I was a CHS student in 1955 I knew he was full of life, humor and intellect but his remarkable background remained a mystery until now. Teen age self-involvement I suspect. Thanks to whomever wrote the obituary for sheding the needed light. God bless you Nicholas -- take care. I wish I had gotten to know you better when I had the opportunity.
John S. Hardy, Jr. Capt (MC) USN (Ret) CHS class of 1958
John Hardy
April 16, 2006
We made a movie together, won the Freedom's Foundation highest award for it. I'll never forget him. He'll have a great time in heaven with his history and stories.
Dave Hebert
April 16, 2006
Teacher, coach, advisor, mentor, a gentleman and a scholar. Dr. Polos was all that and much more. He may never know how many lives he positively influenced. Bon voyage from the Class of 1960.
Ronald Angle
April 15, 2006
I'm sure my love of history came from my classes with Mr. Polos. I went on to teach history and tried to send that love on to my students. I was in the class of 1958 at Claremont High.
Susan Grumbein-Etheridge
April 15, 2006
Nick Polos, '05
April 15, 2006
He was one of THOSE teachers that you always recall..and often relate. Class of 1956
Claremont, CA
Juanita Andrew Hord
April 15, 2006
To the Family of Mr Polos - I was a student of Mr Polos in 1956.
I am sorry for your loss...
Marilyn Baldridge/Gunkel
April 15, 2006
Thirty seven years after graduating from Claremont High's Class of 1957, you were still a mentor for me. In 1994 my letter found you in Hong Kong where you were teaching U.S. History to sailors aboard an aircraft carrier. In it I asked if you would be so kind as to read and give your opinion on some writing I had done. You not only agreed to do so, you carefully read and reviewed all 320 pages, offered valuable suggestions, and then honored me by requesting my permission to use some of it in some of your work. Once our teacher; always our friend.
Richard Douse (Bendroth)
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