For more than 30 years, Dan Naylor offered students a place to be themselves and taught them to love music.
"He never had an empty class during breaks or lunches or even after school because people wanted to hang in his classroom," says Justin Imamura, Prospect High School alum. "There was a certain atmosphere in his classroom that made everyone comfortable. I looked forward going to his class because of his love for his students and also music."
Naylor died in his home in San Jose on Feb. 6.
Naylor was a band director and music teacher, Campbell Union School District Superintendent Patrick Gaffney said in a release. He taught at the district for 26 of his 30 years in education. This year, Naylor served in the music programs at both Westmont and Leigh high schools.
"He will be remembered as a talented musician, a loving father and a man
who dedicated his professional career to the art he loved - music," Gaffney said.
Both Imamura and Chris Pounders from the Campbell-San Jose music group Pounders attended Prospect High School and had Naylor as a music teacher.
"I took Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band and Pep Band all four years of High School," Imamura says. "I would of taken Choir had there been an extra period. He was the best teacher I had throughout high school. I considered him a friend even after High School as my parents and him became friends."
"He was a great guy. Always had cool things to say," he says. "He worked hard and loved music and that Jazz Band we had, may have been one of the greatest Jazz Bands Prospect had ever had."
Imamura and Pounders kept in touch with the high school music teacher even after their time at Prospect was over. Pounders attempted to book a show with his band at Westmont High School and Naylor was supportive and tried to make it happen.
Imamura and his other project, "Street Drum Corps." were invited by Naylor to perform at Westmont High School for the marching band class.
"He wanted us to perform for his students to inspire them to continue playing music," Imamura says.
Imamura says that Naylor played a major role in his career path.
"It was all because of him that I kept pursuing my dream," Imamura says. "He's the reason why I still play the drums and still have my band. His legacy will live on forever!"
Memorial information will be shared at a later date.
Did you know Dan Naylor? Were you one of his students? Share your memories in the comments below.