Mr. Letke ended up being one of my favorite teachers ever -- even though at the time he scared the crap out of me. I attended his History class around 1983 or 1984, give or take. He frequently wore a camouflaged jacket or something.
It seemed as if he had a sixth sense -- such as if he was lecturing and you weren't paying attention -- or if you had not done the homework -- he would hone right in on you and ask a direct question in front of everyone. You had to remain alert. (I tended to be the slacker slopping my homework together the last 5 minutes before class, and didn't pay much attention during class -- so attending his was traumatic towards my lifestyle at the time).
On one particular occasion, there was a midday pep rally type thing that featured "Up With People" (???) or something like that (if that was not what they were called, then I have no idea what the correct name was). My friends and I attended the first few minutes, then slipped out and snuck a beer over the remaining time... after it was over, we went back to classes... and my next one was History.
When the class started, Mr. Letke kind of stood there with a strange expression on his face, then looked around and started strolling around the room, up and down each isle... saying that he smelled the aroma of alcohol... it was a very tense experience... I held my breath as much as I could, but I knew there were a few of us in the room who had been up to it. He made his point, scared the guilty parties, but didn't single anyone out -- although I think he figured out who the guilty parties were. He didn't reprimand us other than his actions of strolling around sniffing out the culprits, and giving a very stern lecture. That scared me enough to never do it again.
I also remember Mr. Letke specifically ranting:
A) The most dangerous person in the world, is a religious radical -- as they are capable of anything -- since "God told them to do it". He delivered the speech shouting points with emphasis, veins popping out of his forehead, and perhaps spittle flying across the room.
B) The most strategic portion of the world to control was the Middle-East, as it had all the oil. And oil controls the world. (This was back in the days of the USSR vs. USA).
C) Lecturing about how the USSR (although evil) was not going to be the ones who nuked us, terrorists would do it instead -- and painted a scenario of what would happen -- and it was this -- that one day a barge from overseas would float into New York harbor then ... BOOM!!! ... and there was nothing in place to prevent it from happening.
I'm not sure when Howard passed, but I assume it was before 9/11. It is not fair for me to say this, but in my own opinion, given his passion, I'm glad he never had to experience that.
Ironically, the 3 major things I remember from his class (mentioned above) -- are still very real in the world today, if not more so than when he lectured about the issues almost 25 years ago.
Any way, he ended up being one of my favorite teachers. His intensity scared me into paying attention and becoming interested in History -- so you can thank him in part for the History area here on MilesCity.com.
Oh, and also... I just remembered James K. Polk was the greatest president ever. Howard used to lecture about that as well.