The Kennebunk High School community is mourning the loss of popular teacher John “JD” Daley, 53, who died unexpectedly on Sunday.
Both present and former students and colleagues of Daley’s were shocked and saddened to learn of his death and remembered the long-time history teacher with tributes online and at the school.
KHS Principal Sue Cressey said Daley was “a friend and mentor to so many. He was just a really nice guy. It’s a tremendous loss.”
Cressey said they have a box in the guidance office at KHS and students have been dropping off notes for Daley’s family. She said former students and colleagues have been checking in, knowing how big the loss is for the school community.
“We live in a very special community, everyone has been so caring. This is a really sad time for us,” Cressey said.
Daley died unexpectedly Sunday in Canterbury, New Hampshire, leaving behind his wife Danelle, son Jack, and daughter MingGe Rose.
He taught history for the last 20 years at KHS, and Cressey said he had a way of bringing history to life in his classroom for his students.
“Students who thought they didn’t like history, loved John’s classes,” she said.
Tributes on Facebook and on the Bibber Funeral Home website lauded Daley as a teacher with a rare gift for connecting with students through humor, kindness, compassion and a true interest in their lives, even outside of school.
Cressey said the same.
“John could talk to anyone on any level. He knew who had a new truck. He knew the names of their lobster boats, and he was genuinely interested in their lives,” she said.
Daley also traveled to China every summer for many years teaching and building, and it is also where he and his wife adopted their daughter.
Cressey said Daley was a true family man, and a wonderful teacher and colleague. His death leaves a big hole at KHS, she said.
Daley’s funeral will be held at at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20 at St. Martha’s Church. A reception will follow at Kennebunk High School.
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