Obituary: John David Alexander III

Teacher, coach, Germanophile, proud uncle

John David Alexander III, 62, of Bomoseen, Vermont, died peacefully at home on May 3, 2022, after a valiant fight against head and neck cancer.

Born January 12, 1960, in San Rafael, California to John David Alexander, Jr., and his wife of 54 years, Catharine (Coleman) Alexander, John spent his early years in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved to Claremont in 1969, just a few weeks after the first lunar landing. In Claremont, he first attended Sycamore Elementary School, where he met his lifelong friend, Claremont resident, Christian (Barry) Cisneros. He continued on to El Roble Intermediate School and graduated from The Webb Schools in 1978.

As a young boy and a teenager, he traveled in Europe with his family. He spent a summer during high school with a German family and welcomed his German “brother” to Claremont the next summer. The travels, his German exchange and the skill of his teachers built in him a passion for the German language and German culture and history.

He attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont after taking a gap year, when he had attended Brentwood School in England through the auspices of the English-Speaking Union exchange program. He graduated from Middlebury in 1983 with a BA in German; he had spent his junior year abroad in Munich. He earned a master’s degree in German with a year of study at Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet, Mainz, Germany, and later earned his certificate in teaching English as a second language from the University of California.

His chosen profession was teaching. In particular, he loved teaching high school students. Over his 30-year career, he taught history, English, German, and English as a second language. He taught at a wide range of independent schools in Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey, California, and New York. He also coached soccer, basketball, and baseball at several of those schools. Before embarking on his teaching career, he lived in Claremont from 1983-1984. During that time, he worked as an assistant librarian at Honnold Library.

A colleague at Hamden Hall High School in Connecticut once described his teaching demeanor as “… the same with students and colleagues alike: calm and comfortable. He can be found each morning around a table in the dining hall discussing current affairs, sports, films, and anything else that comes up. His California upbringing, his New England education, his Southern heritage and his European travels and studies enable John to adapt to just about any situation in the world.”

He met the love of his life, Martie, later in life, and they were married in 2016 in Norwich, Connecticut, surrounded by their families and with her adult children, Gregory and Rebecca Miller, standing by their sides. The couple enjoyed hiking, exploring historical homes and museums, and they were always willing to explore a new book or antique store together. Watching Rebecca and Lowell White get married in 2020 and attending the home birth of their grandson, Killian, in November of 2021, were some of his most precious memories with his new family.

The couple bought their first home in Bomoseen, Vermont, hoping to spend their retirement years exploring Vermont’s beauty and settling in with new friends.

He leaves behind his wife, Martie; mother, Catharine Alexander of Claremont; sisters and brother-in-law Kitty Shirley, Julia Marciari-Alexander, and Bill Shirley; and nieces and nephews Alexander, Oliver, Teddy Shirley and Beatrice and Jack Marciari. He loved being an uncle and was proud of his nickname, “uncle cookie.”

A service of remembrance was held on Saturday, March 18 in Norwich, Connecticut. Anyone wishing to make a donation in his name may give to the Middlebury Language School at, or by check to 700 Exchange Street, Middlebury, VT 05753.


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