RICHFIELD SPRINGS — Mary Weingates, a teacher in the Richfield Springs Central School District, died Saturday in a fire at her home on Walnut Street.
Weingates, 59, had worked in the district since 1998.
“Mrs. Weingates was a beloved, long-time Living Environment teacher and touched many students’ lives,” said Superintendent F. Daniel Myers III in a news release. “We extend our most heartfelt condolences to her family.”
The district’s Crisis Team met Saturday afternoon. The district will have counselors on hand for students, families, staff and community members from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Most recently, Weingates’ class raised the most money in a penny drive to help pay for the large new American flag in front of the school, which was flown for the first time as part of a Veterans Day ceremony.
“Mrs. Weingates planned a celebration for her students to recognize their achievement,” Myers said. “That celebration will go on in recognition of her spirit and her ability to inspire her students.
“She’s going to be missed,” Myers added. “I want the community to know we’re here for the students and the community in this time of grief. We’ll mourn together and remember her for the special person and exceptional educator she was.”
State police, in conjunction with the Otsego County and state fire investigation teams, are investigating the fire that occurred about 7 a.m. at 40 Walnut St. Weingates lived there alone, according to state police.
Fire departments from Richfield Springs, Winfield, Springfield and Cedarville responded. The manner and cause of death are pending and the investigation is continuing.