SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Don McGlothlin Challenged By The Times

By Bob Weaver 2002

Former Calhouner and CHS graduate David Hathaway returned to the alumni reunion each year to greet old friends. Hathaway came in 1993 on the occasion of the anniversary of the class of 1943, at which time he delivered a speech.

Hathaway shared memories of principal Don McGlothlin (pictured left) who was fired by the local school board after he refused to make one or more students, Jehovah Witnesses, salute and say the Pledge of Allegiance. They refused on religious grounds.

The case went to the U. S. Supreme Court, which essentially vindicated McGlothlin, ruling on the side of religious freedom.

"That court decision was cited as a landmark case supporting a current issue in Congress, on National Public Radio," said Hathaway.

Hathaway said McGlothlin was an energetic and devout educator and a student of the Constitution.

He expanded the idea of "clubs" in the school to provide students a broader view of the world.

"Mr. McGlothlin was a man of high convictions and was much to be admired for his stand on civil rights at a difficult time in our history," said Hathaway.

His stand cost him his job, after which the students protested his ousting.

McGlothin, now deceased, went on to better things, as an educator, government worker and writer, spending his later years in Illinois.

He was listed for 18 years in "Who's Who in American Education."

In 1982 he wrote a biography about the rise of Ronald Reagan to the presidency, a "Star to Guide Us." Many literary critics have declared McGlothlin's book the best one-volume book written about Reagan.

Being a Democrat from Calhoun County, McGlothlin had some reservations about his contract to write about a Republican. He spent 18 months combing over a thousand references and talking to people who knew Reagan as a young man.

During his days in Calhoun, he began a book called "Inland Retreat" about Calhoun County, but it was never completed.

Hathaway said McGlothlin returned to a reunion of Calhoun High's class of 1943, held at the Mount Zion Community Park. "In high school I remember him singing a song while balancing on two legs of a chair," he recalled.

Hathaway asked him if he could still do it, and he readily volunteered. "I played an old piano while he sang."

Hathaway said McGlothlin was an exceptional individual, who "returned his talents to many people and the world."

Dick Bailey, son of Pascal D. Bailey, a school teacher in many of the one room schools in Calhoun, described McGlothlin as the most exceptional young man he had ever encountered, McGlothlin likely going to school to Bailey in the Milo area.

See "Landmark Graven Image Case" about McGlothlin under People, Humor and History