Earl V. Prebezac: 1924-2018

Feb 16, 2018

Earl V. Prebezac, who taught thousands of students at Seattle's Roosevelt High School and who co-founded Edmond's Driftwood Players theater, died Feb. 9, 2018 at age 93. He was born July 12, 1924.

Throughout his life, his energetic, mischievous personality led him on many adventures.

The son of Mildred and Bronco Pavlovich, Earl was born in St. Louis. When his mother remarried to George Prebezac, Earl took his stepfather's name.

Ironically, for someone who later became a high school teacher of 35 years (1953-1988), Earl dropped out of high school when he was 16, too curious about the world to stay in school.

He got a job exercising horses at the local racetrack. He also worked as a window trimmer at a department store, and got hired – at age 17 – to become a bartender for a few months.

After World War II broke out, he joined the Army, going to basic training at Pine Camp, New York, and getting into the 101st Cavalry Regiment. After being sorely disappointed that horses were no longer part of the cavalry, Earl was sent to Fort Ritchie in Maryland for military intelligence training.

After receiving training in photo and aerial intelligence, he was assigned to the 937th Aviation Engineer Battalion, where he served for the rest of World War II.

An Army sergeant, he served with his battalion overseas for 22 months in England, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

After the war, he continued to serve in the Army reserves, including in the 38th Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division.

He also learned about the GI Bill, which would pay for his college tuition. He took the GED test, scoring so high that he didn't have to retake any of his high school classes.

He enrolled in Oregon State College in Corvallis, catching the attention of a professor who encouraged him to take a drama class.

While at OSC, he was the coxswain on the rowing team.

It was in the first play he was cast in – playing the devil in Percy MacKaye's "The Scarecrow" – where Earl met Nann Ballard, his future wife. She was cast as the heroine of the play and, after rehearsals, they would go out for coffee. They married in their junior year of college.

Nann then transferred to the University of Washington to become a drama major, and Earl followed. Both acted in shows at the UW-Penthouse and the Showboat theatres.

After they had their first child, Earl worked nights, manning the front desk at the Olympic Hotel, while going to school during the day. He eventually got his bachelor's degree in history from the UW.

When Nann was pregnant with their second child, he turned to teaching, getting a job teaching drama, and then social studies, at Roosevelt High School.

An energetic, entertaining presence in front of classrooms, Earl interspersed lessons on American history with mischievous jabs about the counterculture and intellectuals.

This is a quote by Washington State Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen (Roosevelt High School Class of 1957): "I had a teacher, at Roosevelt High School, in Seattle named Mr. Prebezac. He taught us civics. He taught us about giving back to our community and be part of helping the next generation achieve what the generation before has achieved for us."

Earl and Nann also were part of a group that founded the Driftwood Players in Edmonds in 1957. He served as the first president of the community theater group and directed its first play, "You Can't Take It With You," by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

From 1958 to 1968, Earl was emcee for “World Cavalcade,” which produced travel film, at Seattle’s Palomar Theater, then moved to the Opera House shortly after the World’s Fair.

From 1963 through the early 1970s he managed the Moore Theater in Seattle. The Broadway musical “Hair,” and the world’s first stage version of the rock opera “Tommy,” starring Bette Midler, were two of the major shows at the Moore. Later he and his wife were co-owners of the Edgemont Theater, now called the Edmonds Theater.

Over the years, Earl also acted in productions around town, including playing the title roles in Seattle Children's Theatre's "Rumpelstiltskin" and "Renauld the Fox." He had roles in fringe theater, including Mr. Pearson in "Bang the Drum Slowly."

Later he appeared in Renton Civic Theater's production of "1776" and made recordings of radio shows for the blind. He had some bit parts in several motion pictures, and a starring role in an independent film. He worked until the age of 87, selling movie memorabilia on Ebay.

In addition to Nann, his wife of 67 years, Earl is survived by his children, Michael (wife Toni), Nicholas (Paula), Christopher (Ursula) and Joseph; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Feb. 21 at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, and a celebration of life will be held from 1-4 pm Saturday, Feb. 24, at the home of Nick and Paula Prebezac, 21630 79th Ave. W, Edmonds.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8870, P.O. Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020, or online via vfw8870.org/contribute.

The following website contains additional information on Earl Prebezac: www.prebezac.com/earl/prebezac.html.



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