Berry Middle teacher passes away
FROM STAFF REPORTS
HOOVER – Berry Middle School lost one of its teachers on Feb. 20.
Jeff Roberts, an eighth-grade math teacher, passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack in his home, according to Principal Kathleen Wheaton.
Wheaton said Roberts, 53, had worked at Berry Middle School for eight to nine years. She said he was a good teacher and “will be dearly missed.”
“He has a whole bunch of eighth graders that are crazy about him and miss him very much,” Wheaton said.
Kelly Bowling is an eighth-grade science teacher at BMS, and she and Roberts were on the same teaching team.
“He was just a very patient, compassionate man. The students love him dearly,” Bowling said. “Teaching was his passion. One of the things the students remembered about him as we were working through our grief was one of his quotes. He said, ‘Every day is a good day when I get to teach.’”
Roberts was a graduate of Mountain Brook High School, and although he moved to Texas, he returned to Alabama and taught at Simmons Middle School and then BMS.
“He was not only a colleague, but he was a friend,” she said. “We used to plan our curriculum together and talk a lot together about politics and everything really.”
Bowling said students created sidewalk chalk drawings in memory of Roberts. In her class, students compiled a keepsake box for Roberts’ mother, and included letters and poetry to share.
Roberts’ funeral service was held Feb. 23.
“The (funeral) service was just outstanding. A lot of former students and current students went. It was standing room only,” Bowling said. “It was the kind of service you laughed, you cried, you remembered. The students were just remarkable. I was very proud of them.”
Roberts is survived by his mother, Imogene Roberts; one niece, Alison Roberts; and a host of friends, family and students.