John William “Bill” Hosie, a champion diver at Cornell University and longtime Northport high school physics teacher, has died. He was 91.
Born in Wisconsin, Hosie grew up in the Village of East Aurora in upstate New York where he was allowed to skip the fifth grade because he was the lone student in the class, his family said.
Hosie died of leukemia on Nov. 30 at his Asharoken home surrounded by family and friends a few weeks after being diagnosed, relatives said.
He enrolled at Cornell in 1945, where he majored in physics and math. He became a diver on the swim team and was undefeated for consecutive years, family members said.
Jumping in the deep end wasn’t his only talent.
At a campus sorority party, his smooth dance moves caught the eye of his future wife, Sylvia Kilbourne Hosie, 89, of Asharoken.
“He was a good dancer,” Sylvia Hosie, his wife of 67 years, said of their introduction.
After graduation, he was accepted to Columbia University, where he earned a master’s degree in education.
Hosie’s first teaching position was at Northport High School in 1950, where he taught physics for 38 years.
“He had a tremendous reputation. Everyone wanted to be in his class,” said daughter Jane Hosie-Bounar, 56, of Concord, Massachusetts.
Former students said his approach and teaching methods were fun and unusual. Family members said he once stood on a table twirling a bicycle tire around his head to demonstrate the effects of centrifugal force.
A handyman, Hosie built furniture and wooden toys. Family members said Hosie built the house his children grew up in, furniture, and wooden toys for his grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Northport.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Ecumenical Lay Council Food Pantry, also in Northport, Trinity Episcopal, and the Retired United Teachers of Northport.
Besides his wife and daughter he is survived by two other daughters, Cynthia Hosie Gorman, 64, and Nancy Hosie Pierce, 54, both of Northport; and son John W. Hosie III, 61, of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Another son, Daniel Kilbourne Hosie, died in 1997.