Moyer's Students Remember His Passion for Teaching

Article excerpt

Nikki Tiani, 24, of Irwin remembers Bob Moyer coming to her house for a violin lesson and asking her mother if he could borrow their shower.

"He was crazy, and he was so funny, and he loved cookies," she said.

The perpetually rumpled music teacher also loved cats and pigs but, most of all, he loved students.

Robert Neil Moyer, 55, of North Oakland, died Feb. 22. He graduated from Somerset High School in 1971. He held a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's in music from the University of Pittsburgh. He was Gateway School District's orchestra director for 33 years.

Stephen Papay, 25, of Monroeville said Moyer would raid his family's refrigerator during cello lessons.

"First he would spend five to 10 minutes talking to my dog," he said.

Papay was one of several students Moyer occasionally sent off campus to pick up three dozen doughnuts for the class and a coffee for him. Usually on the day after a concert, Moyer would hand a student a hall pass, his credit card and the keys to his Jeep.

"A couple of times people would be caught and have to come back up with a security guard, and the guard would yell at him," Papay said.

Long-time colleague Andrea Campbell said the Gateway faculty was like an extended family when Moyer and she started teaching. The principal tolerated Moyer's infractions because he was so likable, would help anyone and always did more for the school than he was required to, she said.

"The administration would see that and not nitpick him," Campbell said.

While Moyer was brilliant at teaching, he relied on other teachers, parents and students for administrative tasks, she said. …