Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mr. E. Mike Dobbins

Life is beautiful. You can see how beautiful in this leaning-back laugh on the young Mike Dobbins, drama and stagecraft teacher at Lincoln East High School, Lincoln, Nebraska, in this yearbook photo from the 1971-1972 school year. He's listed in the yearbook as Mr. E. Mike Dobbins, as he is in his obituary. What does the "E" stand for?

Could it be Ernest? Here, he looks so earnest as the Drama, Stagecraft, and Junior High Drama teacher, making an important point. I want to thank Nancy Mastalir Ruder for these wonderful photographs, and for sharing the sad news with some of Mr. Mike's former high school students, who loved him. Nancy and I are blogger pals who have never met; she learned of his death here in my blog, and I learned of her connection to Mike that way, too. She lives in Texas, I live in Illinois, and both of us used to live in Nebraska (different towns), which was coincidence enough. Now this.

And a sad, sweet remembrance now of Thomas Michael Pullin, known to locals and Heartland Theatre pals as Mike Pullin or Michael Pullin. He told me once, shortly before he died, as it turned out, that no one would know who he was when his obituary appeared, as it would say Thomas. Indeed, the local paper called him Thomas Pullin. But we all knew it was him.

And Mike, Michael, E. Mike, or Mr. E. Mike Dobbins, we know it's you who's gone now.  Nice to see you standing on the left, second row, with your Dionysians at Lincoln East High School, Lincoln, Nebraska.


Services for Mr. E. Mike Dobbins are August 3 at Calvert Metzler Memorial Home, and you can learn about how to make a memorial donation to Heartland Theatre there or here.

I am touched that Mike Dobbins will be buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, where an actor might someday bring him back, laughing, in the Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk. Wouldn't that be something?

13 comments:

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

Nice tribute, Kathleen. Evidently left an impression with you and others.

Have a nice day mi amiga

Gail Dobbins said...

Lovely. Thank you. I want everyone to see this. He was special and unique, indeed. The "E" stands for "Eddie," a first name he never used. He was named after a fighter or boxer in 1945 and that's all you need to know because he didn't like it. Before Heartland he used the "E" initial all the time, then dropped it. I guess he felt that he had arrived and didn't need that long name. Love him so. He would have adored what you wrote. Gail

Kathleen said...

Ah, thank you, Gail. We are all missing Mr. Mike Dobbins.

seana graham said...

That's a lovely tribute, and it's clear that he will be much missed. What a nice thing, though, that you and Collagemama have knowing him in common.

PaulWBakerSF said...

It's my pleasure to remember Mike. My thanks to David Sukovaty for posting a link to this blog. While in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Theatre Department, it was my honor to work with Mike on several occasions and to direct him in the Theatre Libre production of Waiting for Godot in which he played Pozzo. I always had the great affection and respect for him as an actor, director and human being. The world will miss him.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Paul.

toomuchaugust said...

a lovely tribute, kathleen. it's easily evident his mark on the world, that warm ripple effect reaching even my shores.

Harley said...

I'm so sorry--I just learned today about Mike. I'm in that photo and can almost remember the day it was taken; we all loved Mike so much, and admired him and were inspired by him. It's hard to adequately describe what his spirit and energy and crazy sense of humor meant to a bunch of theatre-mad high school kids. He's the reason many of us spent our lives in the theatre. I'll never forget him. Thanks for the great tribute.

Kathleen said...

Thank YOU, Harley. We'll miss him here in central Illinois, and I'm thrilled his friends and students are in Nebraska and all over the country and the world!

Jean T said...

Thank you, Kathleen,for posting this tribute. I was just linked to it. I'm very sorry to find out that he passed away. Mike Dobbins inspired me to devote myself to Theater for my entire life. For you Lincoln East folks, my name is Jean Thomsen. Mr. Dobbins was a hoot, wasn't he?

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Jean. He knew how to laugh, didn't he?!

Elanor said...

It was so interesting to see this--I myself am a current student at East High School and am very involved in theatre. It's so fascinating to see what the troupe and stage looked like back then!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for visiting here, Elanor. Best wishes with theatre this year!