Garrard Middle School teacher Jerry Compton dies

September 24, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

LANCASTER - Jerry Compton, a well-loved teacher at Garrard Middle School, was rushed during school hours Thursday to Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford, where he later died.

Compton, 58, had been a teacher and coach at the middle school since 1983 and was remembered today as a "very well-loved teacher," said Teresa Griffin, a secretary in the school's front office.

"Most students have expressed shock over this - it was very unexpected."

Compton was picked up by an ambulance about noon after passing out but was not teaching class at the time.

Principal Cindy Rogers could not say enough about the impact Compton has had and will continue to have on students and other teachers.

"I don't know where to begin," she said. "He was part of the first faculty here 14 years ago. He has been a teacher, a coach, the technical director, the athletic director. ... I cannot explain what a dedicated professional this man was. He had a very unique and special interest in the students and their families. He was a mentor to them, took them to events outside of school ... He has been such a positive role model and will continue to remain in our students' and teachers' lives as a positive impact for years to come."


Counselors on hand to help students

Rogers said there have been additional counselors on hand today to help the students deal with their grief over the loss. Many local ministers have donated their time to serving as a counselor, she said, which the school greatly appreciates.

"I would like to add that things have gone very smoothly today because of people that have given us their time, as well as the professionalism displayed by the staff here. They've had a difficult situation to deal with and have made sure to make themselves available to the students at all times. I think the students know and appreciate this. Some have talked to us openly about their grief; others have dealt with it silently in their own way."

Memorials have not taken shape just yet; Rogers said the staff is focusing on Compton's family first and foremost and assisting them in anyway it can with the arrangements.

A secretary at the central office said Compton had undergone open heart surgery a few years back and also had been having some complications from diabetes. However, his death was still a surprise.

Ray Woolsey, Garrard County superintendent, said it has been a very somber day for the school system. "Mr. Compton was a dedicated educator that loved children and always had a smile on his face every day."

Billy Moss, mayor of Lancaster, said Compton and his wife, Nancy, had worked for the city for several years reading meters for the water department.

"Because they were both so friendly and knowledgable of the area, they were great representatives for us. We're all saddened to hear of his death. Our heart goes out to Nancy and the rest of her family for the loss in their family. It's hard to lose someone like Jerry."

Garrard Middle School planned to observe a moment of silence for Mr. Compton at 1:30 p.m. today.

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