East Texas professor finishes 45 years, without missing class - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texas professor finishes 45 years, without missing class

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LONGVIEW (KLTV) - Professor William Kielhorn finished his career at LeTourneau Thursday, and left his family, and his students with a lecture they'll never forget.

Kielhorn began his engineering class Thursday the same way he always does, with a prayer.

The difference this time was, his students weren't even in the same room, and Professor Kielhorn was teaching from a hospital bed.

Kielhorn is suffering from stage four colon cancer, but he wasn't going to let that stop him from reaching his career goal.

"I very strongly felt that I'd like to complete this 45 years without a miss," Kielhorn said.

45 years. That's how long he's been teaching engineering at LeTourneau, without ever missing a class. And even with his illness, his family never expected him to miss today.

"The first thing he asked the doctor was would he be out by 3:00 for class," said Kielhorn's granddaughter Amanda Streed. "He was laying in ICU, you know, they're hooking him up to everything."

Good Shepherd Medical Center helped to set up the videoconferencing, and his students sat through Professor Kielhorn's final lecture.

Back in the hospital afterwards, the other most important group in his life, got to celebrate with him.

"After it was over, and the lecture was done, we were like, 'You did it dad, you did it,'" Kielhorn's daughter Martha Croft said. "Course you know, God gave him the strength to do it."

His family says that his students learned through this that they should persevere no matter what. And they say there's something all teachers can learn too.

"If we had teachers that really cared that much and stuck with their students, people would probably be a lot better off these days," Streed said.

LeTourneau will rename the engineering welding lab in Professor Kielhorn's honor.

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