School teacher Tracy Kay Herrold, 57, died April 30, 2013, at
her home in Stayton.
Tracy was born
January 27, 1956, in Salem, Oregon, to Orville and Edna
A life-long resident
of the Stayton area, Tracy attended Stayton Elementary School
and graduated from Stayton High School in 1974.
She received a BS in Elementary Education from Southern
Oregon College in 1979, and began a long and successful
teaching career at Mehama School, a rustic two-room
schoolhouse in Mehama, Oregon.
When the school closed in 1986, she began teaching at
Stayton Elementary School as a first-grade teacher, where she
remained on staff until her death.
incredibly compassionate and committed to children,” said
Anette Carroll, principal at Stayton Elementary.
“She cared equally about their minds and their hearts
- her empathy and protectiveness of all children
never wavered, no matter what they were going through or
how they acted. Tracy
just knew they needed to be encouraged and loved - she made
them believe in themselves.”
Described as an exceptionally skilled educator by her
colleagues, Tracy was selected Teacher of the Year at Stayton
Elementary more than once.
classroom was notorious as a study in controlled chaos.
She and her students were jam-packed into a tangle of
easels and books, turtles and birds - and student creations
was a comfortable place for children to learn, and she made it
a safe haven where they were free to be themselves.
Alongside the required reading and writing curricula,
Tracy taught her young apprentices courtesy, integrity and
respect for others. Sue
Giles was Tracy’s longtime assistant:
“At the beginning of each year, Tracy would turn a
classroom of young strangers into one big caring, loving
family where all kids felt valued and secure. She emphasized
honesty by simply looking into a student’s eyes so intently
that any small fib would instantly melt away!”
Though hampered by
health issues in the final years of her life, Tracy continued
to lead her students from a wheelchair and crutches.
“Tracy shared her own challenges with her children
and taught them that they could overcome anything,” said
Tracy loved to
travel, raise organic vegetables and fruits, and create unique
raku pottery. She
played the dulcimer and had a great love of acoustic folk
music. She loved
all animals, especially cats.
Preceded in death by
her mother and father, and sister Judy Hanson, Tracy is
survived by her sister Joan Herrold, nieces Amber Hanson
(husband John Razor) and Alex Boring, and grand-niece Corina
also leaves a much larger family behind - in the hundreds of
students she taught, some of whom went on to become educators
because of the very teacher who met them at the classroom door
their first year. “Tracy
didn't try to be the best in
the world, instead she was the best for
the world,” said Carroll.
“Her legacy will live on through the generations of
students who were so fortunate to have her as a teacher.”
A Celebration of
Life was held May 17, 2013, from 3-5 p.m. at the E.G. Siegmund
Meeting Room of the Stayton Public Library, 515 North First
Avenue in Stayton. In
lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to
the Stayton Elementary School Children’s Fund in memory of
Tracy Herrold, 875 North Third Avenue, Stayton, OR
and condolences can be sent to Virgil T. Golden Funeral Home,
605 SE Commercial Street, Salem, OR