Students, parents remember Rutherford County educators who died of COVID-19

Local News

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two employees in Rutherford County Schools died of COVID-19 over fall break.

“We went on fall break… everybody was happy,” said Parker Moffitt, a sophomore at Smyrna High School. “Everything just took a turn for the worse.”

Monday, Rutherford County Schools announced the death of Garry Mooney, a history teacher and football coach at Smyrna High School. He died of COVID-19 last Wednesday. Three days later, on Saturday, Jennifer Baker Morton also passed away. She was an educational assistant at Rocky Fork Middle School.

“You’ve got a football coach who has coached kids for years,” said Mallory Moffitt, Parker’s mom. “You’ve got Mrs. Baker who is a teacher’s aid, who my son was very close with. There’s not a person at Rock Fork that wouldn’t say they knew her and they loved her.”

Parker Moffitt had relationships with both educators. Mooney was his coach.

“He loved Jesus,” said Parker about Coach Mooney. “I mean, he never disappointed you. A great person… just an amazing person.”

Baker was Parker’s favorite teacher.

“Ms. Baker, she was like a second mom to me. I ate lunch with her every day,” said Parker. “She was just an amazing person. Always seen her with a smile on her face. I mean, you could go in her classroom and she would cheer you up immediately.”

Both Mallory and Parker now hope Baker is remembered for her kind and generous spirit.

“The most affectionate, loving, caring, person who loved your kid as much as she loved her own,” said Mallory. “She’s the kind of faculty you would want your kids to have there because you just knew she had him.”

Rutherford County Schools is now offering grief counselors and emotional support.

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