Community Mourns Loss of Longtime Educator

By Linda Ong |

Published 05/02 2014 10:30PM

Updated 05/02 2014 10:48PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The death of 61-year-old Gary Tyrrell is has left he Mountain Grove Schools community in shock.

"Teachers who work here today were his students when they were in high school," said Tom Johns, Mountain Grove Schools Assistant Superintendent. "It's a big impact and even though it didn't happen in our town, we feel like it happened to one of us."

The daughter of Gary and Jan Tyrrell found the couple dead Thursday night around 7 pm.

Johns said Tyrrell was well-known and liked.

"He was a very jolly guy, happy person-- very kind to anybody," he said. "The type of person who would never say no to anybody and would try his best to follow through with helping people out."

Tyrrell's 30-year career at the district began in 1975. He started as a history teacher, and then moved on to become a middle school principal, transportation director, and then eventually became assistant superintendent.

"He cared and he really wanted to make sure kids got what he was trying to pass onto them," said Johns.

James Shannon was longtime friend of Tyrrell and described him as "happy go, lucky."

"He'd give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it,"  said Shannon.

He said the couple moved from Mountain Grove to Springfield about 20 years ago. Tyrrell retired from the district in 2005, then taught at Drury and Southwest Baptist University.

"He was one of those guys who couldn't sit still," said Shannon. "He had to do something. He loved working in the garden."

Shannon said the two would buy and sell gold-- a hobby-turned business for Tyrrell. He said Tyrrell was more than just a friend.

"Gary was like a brother to me, the brother that I never had," he said. "So it hurts."

Les Moore is also a friend of Tyrrell and said he was a dedicated educator, father, husband, and friend.

"You couldn't as for a better friend. I can't really put it into words. He was always happy, never mad," said Moore. "Didn't have a mean bone in his body."

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