MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. - Elvin Wyatt Pogue, 76, of Beech Creek, KY, passed away on Friday, January 4, 2013 at his home. "Mr. Pogue", as he is known to so many people in this community, has been called home to be united with Jesus and those precious family and friends who have gone before him.
Mr. Pogue was born in Beech Creek on July 17, 1936. He attended Hughes-Kirk High School 12 years, graduating in 1955. He began attending Murray State University in August 1955 and completed his first full year in May 1956. He was then contacted during the spring semester regarding a teaching position at Bremen High School. With only 34 college hours behind him, he was hired with an Emergency Teaching Certificate to teach music at Bremen Consolidated High School. He had a passion and love for music and students from day one. Not being much older than the high school students he was teaching, he became very close friends with many of those students. Mr. Pogue continued teaching music, leading the chorus and building and directing the marching band through 1963. Those eight years began a teaching career that would affect the lives of hundreds of students and families throughout the remainder of his life. During several summers, Mr. Pogue took great pride in working as a tour guide at Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky. He remained an ambassador for the National Park throughout his lifetime, often encouraging people he met to visit the elaborate cave system.
Mr. Pogue married the love of his life, Sue Carroll Sallee, on December 26, 1964. Their son, Todd, was born on October, 1967. Although the Pogues only had one biological child, they became surrogate parents, mentors and caregivers to hundreds of students throughout their lives. The two of them made a career in the Muhlenberg County School system, educating and counseling the students and families of their home community. Mr. Pogue completed his Bachelor's degree in music and, soon after, his Master's degree in counseling, at Western Kentucky University. Although he chose counseling as his Master's study, his intention was never to "officially" become a counselor, but to continue in his music teaching position, where, as he often said, he could touch so many more lives. He continued and, eventually finished, his career as a music teacher and band director at his dearly loved alma mater, Hughes-Kirkpatrick High School.
Mr. Pogue built a storied, successful marching band program at Hughes-Kirk, producing winning seasons in 26 of his 28 years as the leader of the Marching Tiger band. Although the school population, and therefore, the band membership was small compared to other schools, the impact the program had on music in Muhlenberg County and throughout the state of Kentucky continues today. Mr. Pogue served as a mentor and friend to numerous band directors throughout the region and state and remained friends with them throughout his lifetime. Several of Mr. Pogue's former students became music teachers, band directors and principals. In addition, numerous former students have returned to his home in Beech Creek over the years to thank him and credit him with instilling a pride and discipline that inspired them to reach their goals and become successful, happy and prosperous adults. The walls of his home still today boast senior pictures of students who lovingly referred to him as their "second dad". Mr. Pogue recently shared with someone that it was his passion and love for young people that had driven both he and his wife, Sue, to devote their lives to teaching and counseling. He remarked that he had tried to live his life with no regrets, let students know his home was always open to them day or night and hope that he positively impacted lives along the way. After Mr. Pogue's retirement in 1989, he became a much sought after adjudicator at marching band competitions throughout western and central Kentucky.
The Pogues not only opened their home to their students, but also to foreign exchange students from Colombia, Brazil and Germany. Their first exchange student, Guillermo Arbelaez, not only completed one year of high school while living with the Pogues, but chose to attend Western Kentucky University for his bachelor and master's degrees. During the years he attended WKU, Beech Creek was his home and since that time, the Pogues have been his family. Several years after Sue's death, Mr. Pogue once again opened his home to foreign students, hosting one young man from Brazil and eventually, three from Germany. Mr. Pogue enjoyed traveling the country and the world and made visits to Switzerland and Germany to visit with his exchange students on several occasions.
Mr. Pogue's dedication to his family, students and community was in large part due to his lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. He was a member of Beech Creek Missionary Baptist Church where his grandfather, Hugh Pogue, a Baptist minister, was a founding member. Upon his profession of faith, he was baptized into the membership at a young age. He lended his musical talent to the church, serving as their choir director for nearly 50 years. In addition, he was ordained by the church as a deacon on July 23, 1978. Mr. Pogue's Christian ministry through music reached far beyond the scope of the church he called home. Although he was known for his bigger than life personality and his honest, often very blunt, advice and comments, he remained a very humble man whose goal in life was simply to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When recognized at his retirement for the impact he had made on so many lives, he wept humbly, giving all praise and glory to God for allowing him to play some small part in the lives of the young people he loved so dearly – not only those students who were in marching band or chorus, but every student he had the opportunity to minister to throughout his teaching career, including many who only took music so they could get to know the man other students loved and admired so much. His life mirrored the words of the apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy, "…nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day (2 Timothy 1:12)."
Mr. Pogue was preceded in death by his devoted wife, Sue, on March 15, 2000 and his precious son, Todd, on November 30, 2010. In addition, also preceding him in death were his father and mother, Herman Hugh Pogue, Sr. and Vida Pogue, brothers Desper, Hugh William, Wayland, and Herman Pogue, Jr., and his sisters, FloElla McDonald, Bettie Grise and Verda Blossom. He is survived by his "adopted" children, Guillermo Arbelaez of Geneva, Switzerland (formerly of Medillin, Colombia) and Kimberly Blake (George) Meadows of Beech Creek, Kentucky, "grandchildren", Clorissa Meadows and Jager Meadows, both of Beech Creek, brothers Eugene Pogue of Beechmont and Robert Pogue of Beech Creek, sister Sue Cox of Louisville, numerous nieces, nephews, students and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 11, 2013, conducted by Bro. Harry Neal and assisted by Bro. Terry Chaney. Visitation will be from 5 – 9 p.m. on Sunday, January 6 and from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Monday, January 7.
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