Mr. Louis E. Dieruff


Do you know this man? You should. His name gives all Dieruff High School students, alumni, and supporters a sense of “home”, nostalgia, and pride.
LOUIS EDGAR DIERUFFwas born to be an educator. On June 11, 1889, Louis came into this world via Minersville, PA to parents William and Catherine Dieruff. William Dieruff was a big, strong German miner, who felt his son should also work in the mines. But Louis had a slight build like his grandfather and his mother believed that teaching would be better suited for him. After spending a year picking slate, he earned enough tuition to attend Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown (now Kutztown University). He graduated with a teaching certificate in 1912. Louis first came to Allentown in 1916 and became a teacher at the Jefferson “continuation school”. On July 3, 1917, he married Alma Wuchter at Christ Lutheran Church at 13th and Hamilton Streets.
During World War I, Louis volunteered for service in the Army Medical Corps, and during his service he helped organize a school for rehabilitation of injured soldiers coming back from overseas. When he was discharged from the service, Louis found a teaching job waiting for him at McKinley School. In 1920, he was appointed principal of Wolf School (an elementary school building on the back of Central Junior High). In 1927 Louis was named principal of Central Junior High. Louis considered the 21 years he was principal at Central Junior High as, “the happiest years of my life.” After Mr. Dieruff was forced to retire as an educator, he was brought into the School District as the Secretary-Business Manager, where he improved the business situations of the Allentown School District, until he finally was required by state law to retire at age 70, shortly before the high school bearing his name opened.
Mr. Dieruff was a person of boundless energy and enthusiasm; he attained the ultimate in recognition of his talent – the love and esteem of his fellow citizens. His honors were many, but the greatest (at least to him), was when the Allentown School Board named the city’s second senior high school after him. Few people live to see a $3 million dollar memorial dedicated in their name. To Mr. Dieruff, it was an even more enduring honor because itwasa school building, alive with young people seeking the knowledge he himself had striven so successfully to impart in almost four decades as a teacher. When the board took the action to name Dieruff High in his honor, he told the directors: “This is the highest and most enduring honor that the school district affords. Only in America could the name of a school district employee be put in a class with the Nation’s great. It’s difficult for me to believe that in a city where schools have been named for such men as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, my name should be chosen for a similar lasting honor.”
After the school opened at the start of the school term in 1959, Mr. and Mrs. Dieruff became the school’s strongest rooters and boosters. They were familiar figures at school events, both athletic and scholastic. Mr. Dieruff annually gave a $25 dollar prize to a boy and girl with the highest scholastic averages who planned to continue their education and eventually enter the teaching profession.
Dieruff High’s first Ledannus (our yearbook) in 1960 honors Mr. and Mrs. Dieruff with the dedication. Sadly, the 1965 Ledannus would also dedicate its edition to Mr. Dieruff, with a heavy heart as well. On Saturday, October 17, 1964 at 8:20 PM, Mr. Dieruff died unexpectedly in his Highland Street home. In the following days the tributes came from around the state to acknowledge how wonderful a person and educator he was…it was truly the birth of “Husky Pride.”
David Ziegenfuss
Louis E. Dieruff High School
Class of 1986