In Memory

John Ukropina

John Ukropina

Mr Ukropina (1924-1993) taught mathematics at SPHS from 1971 to 1990

John Ukropina, or Mr. "U" as he was affectionately called, lost his battle with cancer on September 16, 1993.

A SPHS '41 and Cal Tech grad, he began his career as an engineer and was involved with the construction of many of the freeways in the San Gabriel Valley.  After retiring from engineering, he went ino teaching and became one of South Pasadena's most popular teachers.  He will be greatly missed by all.


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03/17/10 07:03 PM #1    

Laurie Helene Thomas (Thomsett-Seastrom) (1976)

Mr. U....I wish that I had taken the time to tell you how much you helped me in determining who and what I was as a teenager. I guess that's why I'm here tell you how much you have meant to me over my life...
You were the most patient and kind teacher I have ever had. You challenged me and made me think. You believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. It is because of you (though in high school, mathematics frightened the heck out of me!) that I went into accounting. I discovered that "magically" I had an amazing ability with numbers! I also taught Algebra (amazing, huh??) to Junior High students as a Para-Educator! I would never have EVER thought or believed I had that ability, had it not been for you. You helped me to believe in myself and in my strengths...and for that alone I will ALWAYS remember you.....You were my rock..Thanks for everything. Thank you for just being you..

Love and Hugs, Laurie

04/06/11 07:38 PM #2    

Christopher Klancher (1974)

The Best Math Teacher in the World. Nominated many times as Nicest Man in the World. He donated his salary back to the school district. When the eraser went flying across the room to explode on the blackboard on the other side of the room, you knew you were about to have a mathematical epiphany.

Thank you Mr. U. 

I think of you often.

08/07/15 12:49 PM #3    

Richard Blakeslee Traister (1984)

I was only at SPHS my senior year (1984).  I really struggled in math, but 2 months into being in his elementary functions class,  had a math epiphany Early that year that he noticed in me.  I found myself in Calculus in the Math Lab and he checked on me regularly through the year.  I went from hating math to loving it more than anything and majoring in physics when I was in college.  

Mr U was one of the most important teachers in my life.  Im sad I never got a chance to tell him.  



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