Minnesota community honors longtime teacher who died unexpectedly

Updated: September 20, 2019 10:18 PM

A Minnesota school district is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Tri-City United Public Schools in the Montgomery - Lonsdale - Le Center area says Carol Lilla, a longtime educator, died of a medical emergency Friday morning.


Later that evening, the district honored her at the high school's football game.

"We are a family and we did lose a family member," said Barry Schmidt, teacher at Tri-City United High School.

Before Friday night's football game, Tri-City United colleagues, students and friends held a moment of silence for Lilla, who spent 46 years as an educator.

"She loved being a teacher," said Teri Preisler, superintendent of the Tri-City United Public School District.

Preisler said Lilla had a medical emergency at the school Friday morning, and later died at the hospital.

"I think most everyone is in shock yet," Preisler said.

Without hesitation, the school decided to go on with the game, saying that's what she would have wanted.

"Any event there was, Carol was there, and our students noticed that," Preisler said. "They'd be selling tickets, and knew every person who was coming, except of course if they were from the other team, and chances are she'd know them too."

"There's probably very few people in the towns around this that wouldn't know her," Schmidt said.

Schmidt taught and coached with Lilla. He stood side-by-side with other teachers reflecting on her life at the game.

"She'll be missed," Schmidt said.

Well known for her selfless lifestyle both in and outside of the classroom, one thing Lilla's friends and co-workers can agree on is that her impact will live on.

"She really has left a legacy, and I think that legacy is about caring for kids," Preisler said.

The district said they will have counselors on hand for any students that need someone to talk to following Lilla's death.

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Brett Hoffland

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