By Steve Koehler
Carl Locke, who has taught in Springfield schools for 50 years, will be retiring this week from Ozarks Technical Community College.
One of the last, if not the last, faculty member to have taught at both Graff Area Voc-Tech and OTC, Locke started as a teacher in Springfield’s middle and high school system in 1959 and later joined Graff in 1973.
Originally a mathematics and physics teacher in the Springfield school district, Locke became an electrical trades teacher when he started at Graff, just a few years after the school opened.
“They needed someone to teach the class so I said I would,” he said.
Locke continued teaching full-time at Graff and OTC for 36 years. He will remain on staff at OTC as a part-time adjunct faculty member teaching credit and non-credit courses.
Locke, 78, said he has enjoyed training students for the electrical trades.
“I’ve had super-good people who have gone into good careers. A lot of people have gone through here,” he said.
One of those Locke-trained graduates was Lee Beaman of Beaman Electric in Springfield.
“He is a mentor to most of the electrical contractors in this area. He is a mentor with a capital M,” Beaman said.
Beaman, who attended Graff from 1977-78, said he learned so much from Locke that when Beaman worked for his father in the summer, he would correct his dad sometimes on electrical procedures because of what he learned from Locke.
“Carl’s a little old school. His passion for life was his kids. He worked his whole life to make sure they had an opportunity to succeed,” Beaman said.
Locke said one of the biggest changes over the years in the electrical trade field has been in the automation area. He said automated controls now allow someone in Hawaii to control the lights in their home in Springfield.
Locke said he’s not looking forward to retiring but knows he had it had to happen someday and will leave full-time work with a lot of good memories.
“This is kind of a family to me here because of the people I work with and all of the students,” the confirmed bachelor said. “I’ve had trying moments and a lot of good moments with good people who got their start here.”
Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666