Illness forces LauGel to retire after 20 years

By Nika Madyoon

 

“Just say ‘jello’,” he would say. “If you forget my name, just say ‘GelLauGelLauGelLauGel.’”

Andrew LauGel taught for 20 years in the Middle School Visual Arts department, which he headed for nine years.

Although trained as a sculptor, he was instrumental in creating the photography program.

Illness forced his retirement this spring.

LauGel told the Chronicle in an email last weekend that he became ill while driving near school several months ago and was rushed to the hospital.

He underwent emergency neurosurgery after being diagnosed with brain tumors.

He lived with a friend in Los Angeles for two months and was unable to return to work.

He has moved to Connecticut to live with his sister, Karen LauGel.

“Many people consider the art department and Mr. LauGel to be synonymous,” art teacher Robin Miller said.

Department head Brenda Anderson said LauGel “was a perfectionist, as well as an artistic visionary always working to improve the scope of the department.”

She recalled students visiting LauGel’s office for advice and said he connected with his students “on a sweet and personal level.”

LauGel expressed his gratitude to the school community for its “support and positive communications” and said he was thankful for all of the help he has received. He said the community had helped him pack his apartment, give away some of his possessions and renew his vows.

“Your coming together so sweetly enriches these transitions for me, and I deeply thank you,” he said.

LauGel offered some advice on life, saying that it didn’t always turn out to be how one expects it to be.

“Some of us will struggle more than others, but if you expect life to be about peace and love, it will be,” he said.

“Work to benefit others and you will live a compassionate life,” he said. “May these blessings be shared by all of us and may you all celebrate peace, life and wisdom.”

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