McAlester community mourns the loss of beloved kindergarten teacher

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 21:56:02-04

MCALESTER, Okla. -- The McAlester community is mourning the loss of a beloved kindergarten teacher.

Julia Woods passed away suddenly on the last day of school on Thursday, after teaching at Frink-Chambers School for 24 years.

Bryan Woods and Julia were high school sweethearts. Together 30 years, Woods said it wasn't always easy, but that she constantly made him better. Her husband said she brought that love into the classroom.

"Now that she's gone you're left with that challenge of continuing on to be what she wants you to be," Woods said.

The 45-year-old died suddenly after suffering complications from pneumonia.

"It wasn't even maybe two hours after that she had passed. I didn't even have time to buy a ticket between finding out she was sick and finding out she had passed," her daughter Shelby Woods said.

Shelby lives in Colorado now but said from when she was a kindergartener herself until this day, her mother is always an inspiration.

"You know how you ask every child, what do you want to be when you grow up? That's what I strive for," she said.

At the funeral, this past weekend crowds lined up for hours. Bryan Woods said the whole town is in mourning.

"She changed the world one innocent child at a time. What a blessing she was to everyone," he said.

Right now the school is working on a way to memorialize Julia but they say they're taking a moment to give the community time to grieve.

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