Farewell to our beloved physical education teacher, Arnold Allison

AllisonThenNow Arnold Allison (Then and Most recent)
Long-Time physical education Teacher
January 23, 1918 – February 5, 2016

We are deeply saddened to bid farewell to our beloved physical education teacher, Arnold Allison, who passed away in Florida on February 5, 2016, at the age of 98.

In 2007, Barry Rothman ‘58 and Randy Sue (Nathanson) Rothman (left ’56) had the pleasure of interviewing him for the “47” Alumni newsletter (Issue #28).

While Allison was still in his Navy uniform as pilot, he was persuaded by his dear friend, Mr. Goldberg, to try working at “47.” Assistant Principal Wilman hired him immediately even though he had to take several courses to learn how to teach Deaf students. Teaching gave him great pleasure, especially seeing students become successful in the world around them.

From 1945 until 1974, he taught various subjects students from first grade through ninth grade, and also taught physical education and sex education. When asked about the funniest moment in teaching sex education, he responded, “I was showing a film about boys and girls to the 7th grade class. When the film was finished, I asked the students if they had any questions. One of the students, raised his hand and asked, ‘Mr. Allison, do you mean to say that girls don’t have [testicles]?!’


Mr. Allison typically started his gym classes with exercises and then played sports like basketball or softball. He also coached softball, and a highlight was when his students won the city softball championship, due in part to Steven Miller’s powerful pitching.

Mr. Allison retired to Florida, and his daughter started a preschool. He taught the little children how to swim and drove the school bus until he was 87 years old.

He shared another favorite memory. “When I first came to ’47,’ I was still a Navy pilot for four years. One of my best memories is the assembly programs where we sang while the color guards came marching down the aisle. I also directed several shows and plays. It doesn’t seem like 50 years have passed since I chaired the school’s 50th anniversary celebration! ‘47’ will always have a place in my heart.”


Excerpt from Golden Anniversary Journal 1958

I remember when our gym was in the basement. The ceiling was so low that even a midget could “dump” the ball into the basket with ease. It’s a little harder now – but then we are a lot better. Arnold Allison, Gym teacher

Emily (Zustovich) Barbera (January 1950)

allisongym1Mr. Allison was a wonderful gym teacher, so patient. Imagine, the basketball players were Deaf and they were alert when playing basketball by looking at Mr. Allison and teammates for cues. They were fantastic players and won so many times.

John Garbera ‘53


Mr. Allison was a former hygiene teacher, gym teacher, chess player, and a social dance instructor and school bus driver/monitor. He took children every Monday to the dental center at 72nd Street and brought them back to school. He was the chairperson for the Golden 50th Anniversary committee, among many other duties. He was a splendid and devoted person who taught deaf children for 29 years at the good old Junior High “47” School we love.

Page last updated: August 21, 2016