US teacher's dying wish fulfilled by funeral attendees with backpacks full of school supplies for the needy

Ms Tammy Waddell, who died on June 9, requested for backpacks full of school supplies for needy students to be donated at her funeral, instead of flowers.
Ms Tammy Waddell, who died on June 9, requested for backpacks full of school supplies for needy students to be donated at her funeral, instead of flowers.PHOTO: TWITTER/DR BRAD JOHNSON

A teacher in Georgia stayed true to her calling even in the face of death. Ms Tammy Waddell, who lost her battle with cancer, made a final request for backpacks full of school supplies for needy students to be donated at her funeral, instead of flowers.

Ms Waddell, 58, was an elementary school teacher in Forsyth County, and retired from teaching after 25 years when she was rediagnosed with cancer, having previously overcome colon cancer. She died on June 9.

Her wish for backpacks to be brought to her funeral was included in an online obituary.

According to a report by American news agency CNN, about 100 teachers attended Ms Waddell's funeral as honorary pallbearers, and brought the backpacks back to their schools for the needy students after it was over.

Altogether, about 130 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated at the funeral, according to Mr Paul Holbrook, a spokesman for the funeral home who spoke to CNN.

Her cousin, Dr Brad Johnson, took photos of the bags donated at the funeral home and uploaded them on social media site Twitter on June 16. His tweets were warmly received, with one receiving more than 3,500 retweets and 15,000 likes.

On online forum Reddit, a post regarding her dying request was upvoted almost 100,000 times, with users identifying themselves as Ms Waddell's former students. One user described her as a great teacher, while another said she was wonderful and would be missed greatly.