Arnie Okun, who taught math at GHS from the 1990s until he retired five years ago, died this morning (May 4, 2009), from cancer. He was 59.
Mr. Okun was the math department chairman for six years. He was very well-liked by his students. Seniors stood and cheered when his name was mentioned by the salutatorian at the 2004 graduation, the year he retired.
Mr. Okun was born in Yonkers, N. Y., in 1949. He had a BSEE degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N. J., and an M. S. degree in mathematics from Lehmann College in the Bronx, N. Y. He was a software engineer for Hercules Defense Electronics for 12 years in New York and then in Clearwater, Florida. He taught one year at Saddlebrook Academy before coming to Gulf High School. He also taught for six years in New York, part of that time at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn. His wife Maddi was the ESOL Resource Teacher at Gulf High School and Gulf Middle School. They were married for 38 years, and they knew each other since they were three years old.