TRIBUTES have been paid to a retired headmaster who dedicated his life to teaching.
Thomas Hibbert, known as Ken, died suddenly at his home in Hawarden on February 28, aged 92.
He touched many lives over nearly 30 years of teaching in Buckley, Queensferry and Hawarden.
The former head of Hawarden High School is remembered as a family man who enjoyed a long and happy retirement.
Mr Hibbert was born in Buckley in 1920 to builder and alderman Thomas Hibbert and mother Margaret.
A talented linguist, he attended Mold Alun School and was the first student in its history to pass a Spanish A-level.
He served in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War but was captured by German forces in Greece.
“When he was in hospital as a prisoner of war he was kept as an interpreter between the French doctors and English soldiers,” said daughter-in-law Sandra Hibbert.
“When he left the hospital and went back to the camp they nicknamed him ‘vertrauensmann’ which means man of confidence or camp interpreter.”
After four years as a prisoner of war in Bodendorf, Germany, he completed a teaching degree in Sheffield.
It was there he met his wife of 61 years, Joan, 86, a former teacher at the Elfed High School in Buckley.
He began his teaching career in Toxteth, Liverpool, before becoming deputy head of the Elfed between 1952 and 1958.
He was headteacher of Aston Secondary School, now John Summers High School, in Queensferry between 1958 and 1967.
He went on to be headteacher at Hawarden High School from 1967 until 1981.
Mr Hibbert was a mason of 67 years at Mold and Buckley lodges.
“He was a big family man and a big football fan who supported Liverpool, Chester and Stoke,” said Sandra. He enjoyed a long and happy retirement, he will be sadly missed.”
She said he was a music fan who loved going to concerts and listening to classical and jazz music.
He leaves wife Joan, sons David and Richard and daughters-in-law Susan and Sandra Hibbert.
He had three grandchildren, Alex, Briony and Owen and three great-grandchildren, Liam, Chelsea and Jordan.
Roger Davies, current headteacher at Hawarden High School said: “Mr Hibbert was appointed as headteacher of the school in 1967. He oversaw the development of the school as a junior high school, serving pupils in Years 7 and 8.
“In 1976 the school assumed its current status as an 11-18 high school and Mr Hibbert organised the school's transition to a school of over 1,000 pupils.
“Since 1981, when Mr Hibbert retired, he remained in regular contact with the school and supported a number of community events, including our annual Remembrance Service.
“Mr Hibbert was held in high regard and his painting still hangs in our main corridor.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs Hibbert and her family.”
A funeral will be held at St Deiniol’s Church in Hawarden on Tuesday followed by burial at Hawarden cemetery.
There will be family flowers only with donations to Hawarden High School’s charities.