Two teachers from the same Illinois kindergarten team have passed away.
On the same day she attended a funeral for a co-worker who had died from a respiratory ailment, 45-year old Linda Elaine Walker returned to her Illinois kindergarten classroom to take her own life, according to a report in the Daily Mail. She killed herself by hanging.
She committed the act Monday in her classroom at the Tri-C Elementary School in Carterville, Ill. Some 30 counselors have been brought to the school this week to help students and other teachers cope with their grief.
Her suicide is at odds to the way Walker was described in a tribute that appeared in the Southern Illinoisan. The piece was republished by the obituary website, legacy.com:
"When Linda Elaine Walker would walk into a room instantly the room became a better place. She would make people smile with her storytelling ability, laugh until it hurt with a vivid demonstration, and gladly with much love tell the story again, and again for the delight of others. These stories became real to many friends and family through her compassion she had for all who shared her life and were fortunate enough to have listened."
The obituary went on to provide details of Walker's life, including tales about about a stellar athletic career. A standout volleyball star, Walker received 10 varsity letters while she was in high school. She also was the recipient of a full athletic scholarship at Southern Illinois University to play the sport from 1984 to 1988.
She then began her teaching career as a volleyball coach at Carterville High School, which overlapped with her 17-year tenure as a kindergarten teacher in the school system. Throughout her life, her volleyball nickname of the "Shadow" stuck. Walker was also a noted dog enthusiast. There was no explanation or public note for the suicide.
The funeral that Walker had attended for another of the school's kindergarten teachers was for Lynn Barnes. The 72-year-old died Sept. 30 of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a lung condition which prevents oxygen from entering the bloodstream.
As her ailment worsened, the Illinois town had rallied around Barnes. One day last month, community members wore red, white and blue to show their support.
School officials were not trying to downplay the double loss.
"These things are so awful. Sometimes we don't know the best thing to do," Carterville School Superintendent Robert Prusator told the Southern Illinoisan.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Walker took her life while her students were in the classroom with her.
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