Bob Dorough, the composer of many “Schoolhouse Rock” favorites that became a primer for countless children, passed away on Monday (April 23) at the age of 94. Every educator who has committed his or her life to ensuring that every child can learn will attest that being around children, however maddening at moments, certainly keeps mind and body in vigorous form by necessity. It is quite possible that Bob Dorough was blessed with so many full years of life because the musician kept his mind and spirit so entrenched into the minds, spirits, and the world of children.

A Huffington Post report from April 24 was updated late yesterday, April 25, to include that Mr. Dorough’s funeral service is tentatively scheduled for Monday, April 30. The jazz master would insist that any gathering associated with his name not be one of sorrow, but rather, celebration, hopefully, accompanied by a chorus of singing children.

Bob Dorough was blessed by the kind of passing that any musician would dream of, death by natural causes and still being in high demand, with gigs in the books. Fans intending to fill venues for the familiar performer can perhaps join in the celebration of a life very well lived. One thing is sure—children and adults alike who never knew Bob Dorough’s name likely know every word of his lessons set to rhyming verses.

Before cyber learning

Years before the myriad of “tuition free” online learning classes, ABC Mouse, or even widely available distance-learning in any form, “Schoolhouse Rock” came bounding into living rooms in 1971, under the guidance of then ABC executive, Michael Eisner. Bob Dorough was doing the kind of day job that most true musicians dread at an advertising agency when his boss tasked him to put multiplication tables to music.

Far ahead of the high-participation techniques in “Dangerous Minds,” Bob Dorough delivered on his job, so much so that today, many senior citizens can still recite those same tables, in the perfect beat.

Divine inspiration had to be over Dorough because his concept turned song in “Three Is a Magic Number” wasn't anything he knew for sure until he looked it up himself.

The song was the first in a series, “Multiplication Rock” that was later expanded to become “Schoolhouse Rock.” Lessons in grammar, like the well-known “Conjunction Junction” followed, along with tunes for history and civics that more than one observer has suggested might be beneficial to the current sitting president, who has a penchant for TV anyway.

Schoolhouse Rock” segments ran for 12 years between Saturday morning cartoons on ABC and were revived again in the 90s for a five-year stint. Dorough didn't always sing his compositions, but consistently crafted clever tunes.

True claim to fame

Bob Dorough might have felt slightly dismissed by some fans through the 90s. The musician worthy of gracing the stage with Miles Davis started to have requests from the audience for “Schoolhouse Rock” favorites shouted to him onstage.

The artist felt nothing but total gratitude in later years, connecting with school children and their parents when he performed at elementary schools. What he was amazed by was “the impact of network television” which literally brought learning to “literally thousands” across generations and ages, as Dorough related to WNEP-TV.

A warm and familiar voice, coming from someone who cares enough to make learning fun, endures far longer and deeper than an SAT score. Perhaps a certain resident in Washington DC still might find time to brush up on “I'm Just a Bill,” and a few others. Bob Dorough died in his Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania home, and services will be held in the community on Monday.