Students, friends and family remember a retired, Longview teacher who touched their lives. Veronica Maxey, 52, died over the weekend when she lost control of her car. Maxey retired in 2002 after teaching third-grade at Pine Tree Intermediate school for 22 years.
She died Friday while driving on Highway 42 in New London. Troopers say she went off the road, hit a road sign and then crashed into a grove of trees. She died at the scene.
Today, friends, colleagues, and her former students remembered Maxey as the teacher with an upbeat personality who lifted their spirits. "She was one of my favorite teachers because that was a really good class. A lot of those kids are my friends to this day and she was special to all of us," said Jesse Morgan, 13, a former student.
"She was sweet and strict. There was structure, but there was fun learning," said Pine Tree Intermediate School Vice Principal Janet Williams Doddy. Maxey's students say she found ways to make things interesting. "When she read us novels, she used funny voices and did the story for us. She'd give us treats," said Kristin Burns, 12, a former student. "Anything you did great, she'd reward us for it," said Michael Todd, 12, a former student.
Cecilia Fleet, whose three daughters were Maxey's students, had known her for 15 years. "I think of sunflowers when I think of her because she loved sunflowers and I think that's what she was like -- always smiling, always had a good word to say to somebody," said the 3rd grade teacher.
Maxey was also remembered for her tidy appearance. "She was a lady that unlike people of this day and time, truly cared about how she looked and knew that for her to look good would make her kids feel good," said Jerry Hamilton, a teacher at Pine Tree Intermediate School. Hamilton says Maxey was extremely close to her family. "She was just planning on enjoying that grandbaby and be with her family," said Hamilton.
Colleagues say even after she retired, Maxey continued to take part in school functions.