‘Devastating loss’: Beloved math teacher dies in crash on way to school
PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) - An Arizona community is mourning the loss of a math teacher who was killed this week after a semitruck crashed into his car.
On Friday, co-principals Becky Quigley and Jessica Sabo did their best to hold back tears as they read the heartfelt messages posted from students on the classroom door of math teacher Kimball Clark.
“The loss of Mr. Clark is something that is going to be on campus for a long time,” Sabo said.
The 48-year-old educator was killed early Thursday morning when Buckeye police say a semitruck ran a stop sign at State Route 85 and Southern Avenue, crushing Clark’s car.
The math teacher was on his way to school.
“We had kids that stopped me in the hallway yesterday and said, you know I didn’t have him as a teacher, but he was there for me when I needed somebody to listen,” Quigley said.
Friends, family, and co-workers describe Clark as a larger-than-life personality who loved to laugh and loved teaching, which was on display every day with his big smile and non-stop energy.
He was always taking part in school activities, never afraid to dress up and make learning fun at the Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies.
“Just a large force,” Quigley said. “He would come in, always smiling, always positive, I never saw the man without a smile, ever.”
Sabo added, “The energy that came from him was just so powerful that you couldn’t help but feel it when you were around him.”
Clark was also passionate about helping kids dealing with depression, bullying, or the stress of being a teenager. He ran a school club that addressed mental illness.
“He would share things about him, life lessons, and because he would share those things with them, they just knew he was coming from a genuine place of care and helpfulness,” Sabo said.
But as much as Clark loved his students, family always came first. The cherished teacher also worked part-time as an Uber driver to make some extra money.
Clark leaves behind a wife and four children.
“We’re all way blessed he was on our campus and part of the staff, and the kids had the opportunity to have that kind of influence in their life,” Sabo said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Clark’s Family.
“To lose somebody like that, it’s tough, and it’s going to take a long time for us to all heal,” Quigley said. “It’s just a devastating loss for us.”
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