After a sudden and public death, people gather to remember the life of the Liverpool school board president. Pat Mouton collapsed and died during a long and heated school board meeting Monday. As our Kat De Maria tells us, people at her funeral Thursday remembered her long legacy of service.
LIVERPOOL, N.Y. -- "I know it was Pat's wish to serve Liverpool until her dying breath. Her prayer was answered," said school Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns.
Pat Mouton died amidst controversy and stress at an intense meeting that had become common in the Liverpool schools over the past couple of months. Earlier in the meeting, Johns says Mouton took a moment to acknowledge students who had gotten up to eloquently oppose their plans.
"She said boy am I proud of those kids. Boy didn't they do a great job," Johns said.
Friends say that focus on young people exemplified Pat Mouton's life.
"She is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever known," said one friend, who spoke at Mouton's funeral.
"Absolutely dedicated not only to her students but to the community," said Frannie Sisto, of Liverpool.
"She was always around and always a positive influence and really encouraging young people to be active in their learning, including in the arts," said Cicero native Amanda Brasher.
Friends say Mouton's death rocked the Liverpool community.
"I was shocked. It was definitely a shock," Brasher said.
"I was devastated. Devastated," Sisto said.
Mouton's son addressed the circumstances of her death in his eulogy.
"I'm sure the stress involved contributed to her death. But the fact is a healthy heart should be able to withstand that," David Mouton said.
Mouton says he hopes one of his mother's legacies will be that people come together collaboratively to face the challenges in the Liverpool schools. Leaders say they'll have to find a way, as Pat Mouton's loved ones and everyone else will, to do it without her.
"I'm going to miss her a ton," Johns said.
Liverpool school officials have set up a Dollars for Scholars scholarship in memory of Pat Mouton.