Kim Jennings

Kim Jennings, a high school physical education teacher in East St. Louis IL (district 189) died of COVID-19 on April 16, 2020.

Less than a year before her untimely death from coronavirus, Kim had helped the Flyerettes of East St. Louis win the Illinois Class 2A state championship (in May 2019), their first state championship since 2011. She worked as a physical education teacher and a track and field coach for many years.

Kim Jennings touched countless lives as a teacher and coach. She undoubtedly imparted values and ideals of teamwork, facing adversity, and practicing to reach top performance to thousands of children during her time as a teacher. She was vivacious and was looking forward to more years working in her vocation.

“When I would bring my Granddaughter, Jaleah out to practice, I’m looking to see the man, Coach Fennoy. Jaleah would say to me, PaPa, we don’t need the man, there’s Coach Jennings. Coach Jennings did so much for the kids. She also taught me to stay out of the way. COACH will be missed. We all loved you.”

LS
Larry T Hampton Sr
Posted Apr 30, 2020 at 04:36pm to Kim Jennings’ obituary

Kim Jennings is missed deeply by her family, friends, and the thousands of lives she touched over her many years as a teacher.

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Mary Smith

Photo credit: KSDK

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.

Jennings School District went virtual on November 18th, and no students or staff were exposed to Smith after she contracted the novel coronavirus

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.

An obituary had not been published as of this writing; this post will be edited and added to as more is learned. Originally published December 9 around 8:30pm.

Sadly, Mary Smith is not the first education professional in St. Louis to die of COVID-19 – please see this page memorializing those that I know about.

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https://twitter.com/kdeeswenson/status/1336474397759197184/photo/1

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

Dr. Ruth Louise Beckmann Murray, Ed.D, MSN, RN, CS, N-NAP, DAPA, passed from complications of COVID-19 and pneumonia on June 25, 2020 at the age of 84. Ruth continued her education throughout her life, starting with her nursing degree in 1957 from Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, getting her Masters Degree from Washington University in 1967 in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing – Focus on individual and group counseling & crisis training, and finally her EdD from Southern Illinois University in 1983. 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 (including authoring many versions of Health Promotion Strategies Through the Life Span).

Ruth gave tirelessly to the St. Louis community. Her volunteer work included, according to her obituary: St. Patrick Center where she served as a Member, Board of Trustees and numerous committee roles. She was a member of the Board of Directors for HOPE in 1999-2000, a St Louis Transition Hope House volunteer, American Red Cross volunteer and served with the crisis intervention team in St. Louis Missouri.

Dr. Ruth Louise 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.

PS- I’m including her in the “Healthcare Workers” category, because she remained active in her vocation of nursing long after retiring.

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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.

Dr. Nagler’s degrees and numerous, impactful, professional accomplishments are well written about on her website and in the articles linked to in the sources below.

Deborah is missed by her children, grand children, extended family and her husband. Her students, colleagues and friends miss her deeply. 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.”

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Edward Wood Cissel, former Head Master of John Burroughs School

Edward Wood Cissel died on June 16th due to complications from Covid-19 on June 16, 2020. He was 99 years old. Although not from St. Louis, Edward Cissell spent 19 years as the headmaster of John Burroughs School from 1967 to 1986, a pivotal time for the school. During Wood’s time, the financial position of the school was strengthened, faculty salaries were raised, environmental education benefited from the acquisition of Drey Land, increased community service by students, construction of a fine arts building and a sports and performing arts center, and many more improvements. Cissell and his wife (who was also influential in the school) were named “honorary alumni”, a title that only 5 other people in the history of John Burroughs School have held.

Cissell also served in WWII as a forward observer in a field artillery battalion in the Fourth Infantry Division. On D-Day, he landed on Utah Beach and fought in the battles of Cherbourg and Saint Lo, earning a Bronze Star.

Edward Wood Cissell is missed by the hundreds of students and coworkers whose lives he touched, his many friends, his four children, grand children, and extended family.

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

After Lisa Steelman’s mother was released from a rehabilitation facility, she became her caregiver (as well as being a full time mother to an autistic son herself). Apparently one of the staff at the rehab facility had COVID and soon after Lisa started complaining of fatigue and chest congestion….

According to her GoFundMe page:

 … That was Thursday night (April 9).  Friday morning, Lisa couldn’t get up from the couch that she was sleeping on by my mom’s bed and was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital.  Friday night we were told that they were running several tests and trying to stabilize her.  We were semi -encouraged.  Saturday morning we woke to the totally unexpected news that “Lisa probably wouldn’t make it”.  No one could go see her except Perry, her husband who was allowed to be at her side when she passed away from  COVID virus complications. 

Lisa Steelman’s GoFundMe page to benefit her autistic son

Lisa Ann Plamp Steelman of Bridgeton died of COVID-19 on April 11th. She was 56. It was suspected due to exposure and symptoms that her husband and son also had COVID. Her mother Marjorie Plamp passed 5 days later on April 16; it’s unclear if she also died of COVID.

Along with her husband, son, and extended family, Lisa Ann leaves behind the children at Rose Acres Elementary in Maryland Heights where she was a paraprofessional for the past 14 years.

Please contact me if you’d like to add anything or if anything is accidentally wrong here.

Sources and links to more about Lisa Ann Steelman’s life are: