Mourning A Beloved Teacher
A local teacher in the prime of her life, died unexpectedly this week. As if that wasn't tragic enough, she was nearing the end of her pregnancy when it happened.
Doctors were able to successfully deliver the child from Nichole Reeves before she died. Baby Arden is doing fine, but Reeves family is now in deep mourning, while celebrating the birth of her daughter.
The second grade teacher in Haywood County leaves many loved ones behind. Pictures of Reeves show her sheer joy teaching her kids at Lake Junaluska Elementary.
"All those kids that she's had in school. I don't think she'll ever be forgotten. I know she won't with our family," says Nichole's father Doyle Mathis.
Her father is coming to terms with her sudden death at just 34 and near the end of her pregnancy.
"That's just the good Lord's will and we got to accept that now and make way for this baby," said Mathis.
Nichole's father-in-law says she was having headaches this past weekend. Her husband took her to the hospital a couple of times. She was treated for blood clots. But there were complications, and she didn't recover. Before passing away Tuesday, doctors saved the baby girl, named Arden.
"Just thank the good Lord that we've got a grand baby that looks like her and it will never be forgotten from that point," says Mathis.
Nichole's colleagues at school had a baby shower for her just last week. They say they will never forget her.
"Her by-word was Oh honey let me tell you," says Kindergarten assistant Kat Burrus.
"No matter what it was Hey doll. Hey sweetie. How you doing? And that hug she was always willing to share," says fellow teacher Connie Allen.
Allen says it was so much like family at school, Nichole's husband proposed to her in her classroom. Nichole's husband Bryan is a detective for Waynesville police. The department's Facebook page is posting condolences.
"And our heart goes out for her husband. Bryan is a fine boy. I love him just like my son now and I love this little girl," says Mathis.
Haywood County school leaders are taking time, some of it afforded by snow days, to put their crisis plan in place.
"When we return to school we'll have extra counselors," said. Associate Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte.
Nichole's father looks to a brighter future, with a new family addition.
"She's going to be just like, she's going to be just like Nichole. No question," he says.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, February 1st at Garrett Funeral Home in Waynesville. A celebration of Nichole's life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Haywood Community College.
Contributions can be made to a special fund for Bryan and Arden Grace Reeves at WNC Community Credit Union, 27 Kent Lane, Waynesville, NC 28786
By Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS