Longtime Montgomery, Minn. educator to be honored at football game after passing away unexpectedly

Carol Lilla was a teacher for nearly 50 years in the Montgomery, Minnesota area. (Tri-City United Public Schools)

A school district in Montgomery, Minnesota is mourning the loss of a longtime educator, who passed away from a sudden medical emergency.

According to a Tri-City United Public Schools, Carol Lilla passed away Friday. Lilla had been teaching for 46 years and was in her eighth year of teaching at Tri-City United High School, where she taught math and computer science, according to her class website. She was also very involved in sports, having previously coached high school softball, basketball and volleyball.

"She loved being a teacher and supporting our students," read a Facebook post from the district. 

In her honor, district officials decided to continue with Friday's scheduled football game, where a moment of silence and staff tribute were held for Lilla.

"Carol’s children were these children," said Superintendent Teri Perisler. "Be they 40 years ago or here now, she loved being a teacher, she loved being part of this staff."

Lilla's death was unexpected and left the district without one of its most beloved educators.

"She’s a legacy," said teacher Barry Schmidt. "I don’t know if there’s a student that’s walked in her classroom onto her playing fields that didn’t feel that sincere love and care she would exude on them." 

In Carol's honor, the school didn't charge an entry fee for Friday's game. Instead, they asked fans to give a donation as a memorial. And while it’s never easy to lose part of the foundation of a community, those who loved her know Miss Lilla won’t ever be too far away.

"She was a really special teacher," explained senior Keilee Westliec. "She did leave a really big impact on all of us. She loved all of us. She loved her job and she definitely passed away where she loved being."