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Coleman Elementary Celebrates Life and Legacy of Late Teacher

Patty Roach taught third grade for 30 years at the same school, from the same classroom.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With the gymnasium filled to the brim, former and current students and faculty at Coleman Elementary School gathered Friday to celebrate the life of a very special teacher.

Mrs. Patty Roach taught third grade for 30 years at Coleman, even in the years before it was named Coleman.

She spent her entire career teaching from the same classroom: Room 4.

"She was very well liked, and not just by staff, but parents and students.  As families came through, she may have taught two or three generations of children.  So, she was very well respected and loved," said Dr. Molly Pierce, Coleman's former principal, who worked with Mrs. Roach for 17 years during her career there.

Roach retired in 2001. She passed away in November of 2012.

Dr. Pierce says she's not surprised by the huge turnout for her memorial.

"Not many teachers spend 30 years in the same classroom in the same school.  She's part of this establishment," the former principal said.

Everyone dressed in green. Patty attended Northwest Missouri State University and was born on St. Patrick's Day. Friends say she was always wearing green.

Marcy Powell is one of the few teachers remaining at Coleman that worked with Mrs. Roach. She remembers a great teacher with a legendary sense of humor.

"She had something to laugh about every day!  She would come and tell you and she would laugh and slap her leg and then laugh at her own laughter," Powell said.  "She was a joy.  And she did it all the time!"

Even the children who weren't lucky enough to have been in her classroom say they know her.

Current Coleman principal Mike Otto says Mrs. Roach continued to come back to the school to volunteer even in the months before her death.

The adults in the crowd at her memorial were her former students, her former co-workers, gathered as one to celebrate the legacy of a teacher they'll never forget.

"She left a warm fuzzy feeling for everyone.  She was a very unique individual and not everyone leaves that legacy," Powell said.

On the stage were close friends and family of the late teacher.

The celebration concluded as Otto dedicated the hallway that holds Mrs. Roach's old classroom with a plaque that will call that hallway Patty Roach Way.
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