No one \u2014 with the possible exception of priests and rabbis \u2014 attended more funerals than Gerry Kuroghlian. Former students\u2019 parents, colleagues\u2019 grandparents, long-retired custodians and secretaries \u2014 in his 43 years as a Staples High School English teacher, followed by 12 years of active retirement, \u201cDr. K\u201d was there for everyone. So it\u2019s no surprise that Fairfield\u2019s First Church Congregational was packed last Saturday, for his own service. It should have come much earlier. Dr. K battled pancreatic cancer, normally a quick death sentence, for over four years. He lost some of his vital organs. He suffered the effects of nearly non-stop chemotherapy. But, except for noticing that his once-round figure was now (in his word) \u201csvelte,\u201d no one would have guessed anything was wrong. Dr. K never complained. In fact, he used his cancer as one more example of the power of education. He talked to everyone he could - doctors, nurses, the orderlies at Yale New Haven Hospital - to learn everything possible about the disease. Then he went beyond, to learn all he could about the lives of the men and women who helped him live. \u201cThey\u2019re remarkable,\u201d he\u2019d say. Then he would launch into a story about the hardships they\u2019d overcome, the insights they offered him, and (of course) tidbits about everyone in their extended families. Dr. K was a gifted educator. Students flocked to courses like \u201cMyth and Bible\u201d and \u201cShakespeare\u201d knowing full well they\u2019d be challenged, as thinkers and writers, in ways they never imagined. They knew they might not get the \u201cA\u201d some other teachers gave. But they also knew they had an opportunity to learn from a master teacher. So they listened to their older siblings and friends. They fought to get in his class. No one ever regretted it. Yet as much as they learned about Hamlet, Odysseus and using action verbs, they learned more about themselves, and life. Just as there was no hiding if they did not know an answer, there was no hiding personal problems. Dr. K could sense when a student was struggling, in the classroom or outside. He marshaled every resource, everywhere, to help. He changed countless lives. Every student knew how deeply their teacher cared about them. He went to every concert, play, game, art exhibition or award ceremony they were in. He did it after they graduated too. He kept in touch with as many former students as he could. He remembered their names, activities and passions. If he hadn\u2019t seen someone in years: no problem. He picked up exactly where they\u2019d left off. Dr. K would have loved one story told at his funeral. Two strangers were talking. Somehow, the conversation turned to Kuroghlian. The man said that many years ago, he was a Project Concern student from Bridgeport. Dr. K inspired him to go to college. He now has three degrees. Kuroghlian\u2019s impact extended far beyond students. He was actively involved in many professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English. As a member of the Westport Education Association, the teacher\u2019s union, he battled ferociously for better working conditions, better pay and more respect. He got the best of several superintendents and principals \u2014 and boasted not about his accomplishments, but that he outlasted them all. This is a fitting epitaph, for a remarkable man. But Dr. K\u2019s work did not end with his 2009 retirement. Instead it launched him on a new journey \u2014 one that gave him as much satisfaction as he ever gained in his Staples classroom. Actually, it was two journeys. One was to Bridgeport, where Kuroghlian worked with immigrant and underserved women at Mercy Learning Center. His task was to help them learn English. But of course he taught them much more: about culture, life, and themselves. He gave them the same love and attention he\u2019d lavished on his students. Because of their circumstances, perhaps he gave them a little more. Dr. K also went back to high school: Bridgeport\u2019s Kolbe Cathedral. He helped every senior with their college essay. He did not write them; more importantly, he helped students tell their own stories. He was as proud of their writing as the fact that every year, 100 percent of the class was accepted by colleges. All that and more was part of the Gerry Kuroghlian legend. Now it\u2019s part of his legacy. (In true Dr. K fashion, that legacy continues to provide for others. Family and friends have set up a Dr. K Humanitarian scholarship award, through Staples Tuition Grants. Gifts can also be made in his name to Mercy Learning Center.) Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his \u201cWoog's World\u201d appears each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.