Educators who died of COVID-19 in the St. Louis Metro.

Memorialized here are people who worked in education and died of COVID-19. Retirees who were still active within this field are also included. This page is dedicated to  all the teachers, janitors, bus drivers, part time teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, and all other education staff who have died of COVID-19 in greater St. Louis.

Please fill out the contact form and reach out if you would like to submit the story of a deceased person, help me out with this project, or just “say hi”.

Stay safe — 

Frank Massey

Frank Massey

Frank Massey, passed of COVID-19 on April 17, 2020 five days after his 68th birthday. He had been married 20 years and had seven children. Frank's grieving wife gave an emotional interview with News Channel 5 on Your Side on April 18th: "I want people to know that coronavirus is not a joke. It is not a hoax and it is definitely not fake news because I'm living the nightmare," Cynthia said.
Juanita Eason Graham, former Webster Groves preschool teacher

Juanita Eason Graham, former Webster Groves preschool teacher

Juanita Eason Graham died of COVID-19 on March 28. She was 55 years old. Juniata Graham is missed deeply by her husband of 18 years, her mother, her family, everyone that she worked with, and the former preschoolers who she introduced to school for the first time. Juniata's husband wishes people to take social distancing and all the precautions seriously, because COVID-19 is not a joke.
Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder

Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder

Dr. Gaye Griffin-Snyder died of COVID-19 on June 6, 2020. She was a professional counselor in St. Louis County and worked as an adjunct graduate professor at Missouri State. She helped out countless people through their struggles with mental health and emotional issues. Her daughter Angela wrote "She died with strangers and couldn’t respond to me in any way when I got to say goodbye via video conference. It haunts me constantly."
Dr. Deborah Kantor Nagler, educational technologist

Dr. Deborah Kantor Nagler, educational technologist

Deborah Nagler grew up in St. Louis and Kansas City and attended Washington University for her undergraduate studies. She died of COVID-19 on April 3 at the age of 66 in Teaneck New Jersey. Deborah was a great mind and accomplished in STEM education and active lifelong in Jewish education.As the St. Louis Jewish Light concluded: "Deborah’s leadership and great love for her family will continue to reach people who may never even know her name, but will live, love, and succeed because of her."
Mary Smith

Mary Smith

Mary Smith, a special education teacher, died from complications of COVID-19 on December 8, 2020 at the age of 49. She taught for 21 years with the Special School District of St. Louis County, most recently teaching first graders at Fairview Elementary in Jennings. According to KSDK's reporting, "Smith lived with her mother and was her primary caregiver. The week of Thanksgiving, Smith's mother contracted COVID-19 and died a short time later...". The seven students that Mary taught were individually notified, and staff at Fairview held a "therapy session" after the news broke. Counselors are available for students and staff to help them deal with this loss. Mary Smith was much loved by all those who knew her, and special education was her true calling in life. She is deeply missed by all her former students, children of all ages who she helped out in life, her coworkers, and her family.
Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray, EdD, MSN, RN, CS, N-NAP, DAPA

Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray, EdD, MSN, RN, CS, N-NAP, DAPA

Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray passed from complications of COVID-19 and pneumonia on June 25, 2020. Her 40 year career in the nursing department at St. Louis University included roles as a Program Coordinator, Psychiatric-Mental Health Professor for Undergraduate & Graduate Nursing Education, and textbook author. Dr. Ruth Beckmann Murray inspired and guided thousands of nursing students in their professional paths as Nurses, helped thousands more in her various other helping roles, and reached countless through her publications and community advocacy. She mentored and profoundly touched many lives personally, as the memories posted on her obituary describe. Her vibrancy, kindness, and love are missed far beyond her immediate and extended family.
Eureka High School Counselor Sandra J. “Sandy” Kearney

Eureka High School Counselor Sandra J. “Sandy” Kearney

Sandy Kearny started having flu-like symptoms on March 24th, and in less than two weeks she passed of COVID-19 on her 70th birthday.
Carol A. Strawbridge, retired school principal

Carol A. Strawbridge, retired school principal

Carol Strawbridge was admitted to the hospital on May 3, and died of COVID-19 on May 21 with her family watching 15 minutes away on Facetime as a nurse held her hand. The much loved matriarch of her extensive family, Carol Strawbridge left an indelible mark on her community she helped, the kids she taught, and everyone who was fortunate to know her in any way.
Educator, mother, and caregiver: Lisa Ann (Plamp)  Steelman

Educator, mother, and caregiver: Lisa Ann (Plamp) Steelman

Lisa Ann Steelman was an elementary paraprofessional, caregiver, and mother who leaves behind a loving husband and an autistic son. She died of COVID-19 on April 11, 2020 at age 56.