The lessons taught by Lakewood Elementary School teacher Billy Staples went well beyond a textbook or computer screen.
Providing life lessons, Hardin County Schools Superintendent Teresa Morgan said, were among the many teaching qualities of Staples.
Staples, who taught at several elementary schools in Hardin County Schools over a lengthy teaching career, died Saturday morning from COVID-19 complications.
He was 48.
“He impacted the lives of several generations of students and their families,” Morgan said in a statement. “He did more than provide knowledge of the essential skills of writing, reading and math. He created and nurtured relationships with students that taught them how to care for others. He modeled his strong morals and integrity each day in and out of the classroom.
“The indelible mark he made on students will continue to carry them through life’s challenges and joys,” she added.
When school returns from fall break today, a team of additional counselors will be at Lakewood to help students and staff through the grieving process for as many days as needed, HCS spokesman John Wright said.
Staples, of Big Clifty, was a math support teacher for all grades at Lakewood. He started in 1998 with HCS and taught at Parkway Elementary, the former Sonora Elementary, the former Lynnvale Elementary School and Lakewood Elementary School during his time in the district.
Morgan said Staples also left an impact on his teaching colleagues, many who held a prayer vigil for him last month at the school.
“.... He always provided a listening ear and a kind servant’s heart to them,” Morgan said. “Mr. Staples had an amazing sense of humor. He was a tremendous storyteller. One could visit with him for hours upon end. His passing leaves a tremendous void in the Lakewood Elementary School family because he freely gave selfless love and dedication to everyone he encountered.”
Funeral services will be held a 11 a.m. CDT Thursday at Rogers-Oller Funeral Home in Clarkson with Sam Dick officiating. Burial will follow in the Mt. Zion Christian Church Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. CDT Wednesday and after 9 a.m. CDT Thursday at the funeral home.
According to his obituary, the family requests that everyone wears a mask.