Forsyth County teacher makes final request for her funeral

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A Forsyth County teacher has continued to impact the lives of students in need, even after passing away this month.

On June 9, Tammy Waddell, 58, lost her battle with cancer. She died peacefully at Northside Forsyth.

For 30 years, Waddell worked as a paraprofessional and elementary teacher for Forsyth County Schools. Loved ones said she had a passion for literacy and believed every child deserved an opportunity to learn.

Several weeks ago, when she knew she wasn’t going to make it, she made a final request for her funeral. Instead of flowers, she wanted guests to bring backpacks filled with school supplies to honor her passion for children in need.

Waddell’s cousin, Dr. Brad Johnson, told FOX 5 she always felt a bond with students in need.

“She thought they needed backpacks more than she needed flowers,” Dr. Johnson said.

On June 13, a celebration of life service took place at McDonald & Son Funeral Home. Dr. Johnson shared a photo on Twitter from the ceremony of pews lined with stocked backpacks.

“Serving others to the end,” Dr. Johnson said.

Johnson shared a second photo and said about 100 teachers served as honorary pallbearers, carrying the backpacks to their schools.

“It was heartwarming,” he said.

Johnson said since his Twitter post has gone viral, backpacks have been sent from all over the world, including TES Resources in the United Kingdom.

Waddell leaves behind a husband of more than 40 years, two sons, and grandchildren. One of her sons works as a teacher, as well as both of her daughters-in-law.