Teacher Requests School Supply Donations At Her Funeral

Teacher has selfless last wish.Tammy Meadows Waddell/Facebook

The best teachers inspire a child for the rest of their life, instilling a love and appreciation for learning.

Tammy Waddell from Forsyth, Georgia, US, is a shining example of the difference good teachers can and do make every day.

Having dedicated 30 years to educating young people, she sadly passed away June 9, 2018 at the age of 58 after battling cancer.

Her final wishes were fitting with the way she had lived her life, and have since moved even those who’d never met her.

Before her death, Tammy requested, rather than traditional flowers, mourners bring backpacks full with school supplies to her funeral service.

A picture of the service, with backpacks propped up in the pews, has gone viral after being tweeted by her cousin, Dr. Brad Johnson:

My cousin’s final request at her funeral was Backpacks full of supplies for needy students instead of flowers. A teacher to the end.

He later added:

She had a servants heart of gold.

Dr. Johnson also tweeted an emotional picture of some of the 100 honorary pallbearers attending the service with backpacks at their feet.

They’d all been teachers who’d worked alongside Tammy during her worthy career.

According to Tammy’s obituary:

Tammy served the children and community of Forsyth County for thirty years as a paraprofessional and elementary teacher in Forsyth County Schools.

She had a passion for literacy and believed that every child deserved an opportunity to learn.

She was a National Board Certified Teacher and in 2003 was recognized as the Forsyth County Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year.

She left a legacy in the hallways of Sawnee Elementary & Primary Schools, Cumming Elementary School and Haw Creek Elementary School.

Those around her recognized Tammy by her generosity, selflessness and unconditional love. Though her achievements and accolades are numerous, none are greater than the many lives that she changed over the course of her three decades in education.

Tammy was known to have a passion for reading, and loved visiting the Great Smokey Mountains, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.

Those who heard about Tammy’s selfless last wishes replied to Dr. Johnson’s tweet to show their admiration for the caring teacher.

One person said:

This is the most beautiful, and most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Your cousin was an amazing woman.

Another tweeted:

A wonderfully powerful way for family and friends to remember your cousin. A real teacher helping students throughout their life.

I am inspired and know many others will be too. Thank you for sharing this.

Tammy’s online guestbook also showed just how much she’d meant to her pupils.

One former student wrote:

In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.You were the best 5th grade teacher.

Another said:

Mrs. Waddell was my favorite teacher she made such an impact on me and taught me everything I loved to see her welcome us to class and always bring a smile even when her shoulder was hurting. [sic]

She was so sweet to all her students and treated them all fairly. She made stations with yoga balls stools and ect. just so we would love to have fun in the class. In loving memory. You will be greatly missed!! [sic]

If only more people in the world had Tammy’s unshakeable sense of commitment to helping the next generation. A life truly well spent.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Tammy Waddell at this difficult time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.