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Stanley J. Albro ‘69

Stan Albro, of Lyndonville, VT, and Cambodia, died on May 25, 2018, at home in Lyndonville, from prostate cancer. He was 85.

He was born in New Britain, Conn., on Aug. 2, 1932, the son of Stanley and Julia Jarnot Albro. He grew up surrounded by the large Polish families of his parents and the factories and bars of New Britain.

When he was five years old he got the idea that if he could give his parents $200, they would give him a baby brother. So he spent all summer asking neighbors and passersby to contribute their spare change to his milk bottle, and by the end of the summer he plunked down $200 in front of his parents. They were amazed – and so was he, when they laughed uproariously. And never delivered the hoped-for brother, nor a sister either.

He attended Roman Catholic schools in New Britain and preparatory school in Pennsylvania, where he played football and basketball and began a lifelong devotion to tennis. He also became an enthusiastic reader, especially of literature and history, and acquired proficiency in German.

He served in the U.S. Army in Germany in the 1950s, working as a translator and, in his spare time, on his tennis game. After his discharge he resumed his intermittent college studies, graduating in 1966 from Lyndon State College and in 1969 receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching from Antioch College.

He taught in public schools for a few years before immersing himself in tennis. He became a teaching pro at various tennis clubs, mainly in the Hamptons in New York during summers and in Florida during the winters. He also spent a season coaching the Nigerian national tennis team while it competed in the Pan-African games, where it placed second.

In the Hamptons, Stan enjoyed the pursuit of fabulous food and wine, invitations to lavish parties, good tables at fancy restaurants, and jolly company. After several years of that lifestyle, he had not tired of those things – quite the contrary. He felt he was starting to love them too much. Finally a stint at the Cincinnati Country Club, in Ohio, led to his resuming public school teaching in Cincinnati and searching for opportunities to atone for succumbing to the temptations provided by constant association with the rich and famous through tennis.

Between 1988 and 2008 he was an adjunct teacher at Cincinnati State and Technical Community College, then a teacher of English and German in the East End Community Heritage School.

After retiring in 2008, at the age of 75, he decided to teach English abroad. He taught for several years in Hungary, but then one day he read online that the Dalai Lama's tailor, in India, was looking for an English teacher. When his attempts to formally apply for that job went nowhere, he was advised to just show up. So he did. The job had been taken, but while walking around Dharamsala, the site of the Dalai Lama's headquarters, he saw a sign seeking English speakers to converse with Tibetan students studying English. That led to a job teaching in the school for Tibetan children, which he loved. But after a cold wet winter in the foothills of the Himalayas, he got pneumonia in April 2012 and spent five days in the Tibetan Delek Hospital (incurring a bill of $137.50), and a lot more time recuperating. He decided he could not spend another winter there.

In Thailand he heard about a job teaching in a college, which came with a salary and apartment, and, after teaching a sample lesson, he was hired on the spot. It seemed too good to be true! Which it was. The next day, the administrator "fired" him after collecting his passport and seeing his age, which, by then, was 80 years old. So he headed to Cambodia, which he had learned offered the least expensive living in Asia. Once again he acquired various teaching jobs, both paid and volunteer, just by walking around and talking to people. He fell in love with the sweetness and gentleness of the Cambodian children and came to consider Cambodia his second home.

In 2013 he returned to the U.S. for skin cancer surgery, but in the aftermath he learned that he had a more serious problem: aggressive prostate cancer. Still, he declined to give up on Cambodia and returned for several months each year, until recently. He had to cancel plans to return in November 2017 because of a ruptured appendix, and this past April he set out for one last trip but stopped in Hartford, Conn., because he simply was too sick to continue.

During his time in Lyndonville, he became a fixture at the Cobleigh Library and also around town and the surrounding countryside with his distinctive walking stick. He loved long walks, especially when he met someone with whom he could strike up a conversation.

Stan is survived by several cousins, in Connecticut; and by many good friends, including his former wife, Mary Elliott Beausoleil, of Lyndonville, to whom he was married from 1967-70. She took care of him during his final illness, with help and direction from wonderful doctors and nurses, Caledonia Home Health Care and Hospice, relatives and friends.

Stan had the gift of a cheerful, optimistic personality, and a kind of fearlessness that drew him to new experiences and uncharted adventures for his entire life. His milk bottle full of change didn't buy him brothers and sisters, but his spirit and zest for living were appreciated by the many who loved him. So long, old friend. There was a gathering of remembrance on June 9 at the York Street Meeting House in Lyndon Corner. Anyone wishing to make a charitable contribution in Stan's memory may direct it to the Cobleigh Library, Lyndonville, VT 05851.