Much of the legacy of Dushan "Dude" Angius -- one of the local high school district's most respected elders -- was erased in the early 1980s when Los Altos High School changed its mascot from the Knights to the Eagles.
In that transition, many trophies and other sports memorabilia displaying Angius' name were thrown out or locked away in some dark storage locker.
"That really irritated me," Angius said recently.
It's understandable that Angius, 85, would be upset. He was one of the school's founding faculty members, served as the coach of a very successful Los Altos basketball team, presided over all of the school's sports as athletic director, and was the school's principal for a decade -- from 1966 to 1976.
Any resentment Angius may have felt about the loss of his hard-won trophies is gone now, as the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District's board of trustees recently voted to name the school's gymnasium after Angius.
In doing so, the district board is not only commemorating one of its early educators, they are also memorializing an important -- if lesser known -- figure in the history of this country's fight against AIDS. His activism helped inspire one of the first major motion pictures to tackle the AIDS crisis.
Richard Henning, who spoke on behalf of Angius at the Jan. 28 board meeting, said naming the gym after his friend and former colleague was only right.
"It seemed imperative that something be named for the man," said Henning.
Teacher, coach, administrator
Angius first came to the district in 1951 -- beginning his career as a student teacher at the original Mountain View High School, which was located at El Camino Real and Calderon Street. He stayed at the school until 1955, working as a basketball coach and athletic director.
He moved to Los Altos High School in the school's inaugural year, 1955 -- serving as basketball coach, athletic director, director of student activities and counselor.
In 1963 he was tapped by the principal of the newly opened Awalt High School (now Mountain View High School) to serve as vice principal. He accepted and worked at the school until 1966, when he returned to Los Altos High School, where he served as principal until 1976 -- when he left to take over as superintendent of the Lassen Union High School District.
Angius retired from education in 1982 and returned to Mountain View to work for an insurance agency. He ultimately left the agency to serve as a broker for the Chicago-based National Association of Metal Finishers. He retired again in 2000.
Looking back at his long career, Angius said that the best times were those he spent at Los Altos High School.
"Nothing could compare to my years at Los Altos High School," he told the Voice. "Opening a new school was incredible. The community, the student body, the faculty were all second to none."
He said he looks back with special fondness at the years he spent coaching the basketball team and overseeing the athletic department.
"We had a trophy case you wouldn't believe by the time I left," he said.
'The Los Altos Story'
It was around Christmas in 1989 when he and his wife learned that their son, Steven, was gay and that he had been suffering from AIDS for some time.
"It was totally devastating," Angius said, recalling the news of his son's illness. Not long after, Angius learned that two other members of the Los Altos Rotary Club -- where he was serving as president -- had been diagnosed with the AIDS virus. Suddenly, AIDS, which had previously seemed so foreign and mysterious to Angius, was staring him in the face.
With the help of his fellow Rotarians, he set out to "do something about AIDS."
The Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project was soon formed and not long after, a 30-minute documentary called "The Los Altos Story" was produced, focusing on the way the virus has impacted Angius, his family and his Rotary Club chapter.
The critically acclaimed documentary went on to win a Peabody Award and an ACE (Award for Cable Excellence), and provided inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film "Philadelphia."
To date, Angius noted, 25,000 copies of the documentary have been circulated and the film has been translated into six foreign languages.
Though his son later died of the disease, Angius said he is proud of the role he has played in helping in the battle against AIDS. He told the Voice that the district's decision to memorialize him might top everything else he's ever accomplished.
"Naming the gymnasium after me is one of the most incredible things that's happened to me," said Angius, who is now living in Walnut Creek. "I am so honored."