FAIRMOUNT — Madison-Grant United School Corp. parents, teachers and students are mourning the untimely loss Friday of junior high school social studies and economics teacher and assistant varsity basketball coach Kyle Guenther.
Madison-Grant Superintendent Scott Deetz said he was informed early Friday morning that Guenther, 32, who had been at the junior high school since 2016, was taken to a hospital for a medical emergency. Deetz said he was informed by 10 a.m. that Guenther had died.
“The Madison-Grant family and community are going to miss Mr. Guenther. He made an impact to a lot of people’s lives,” he said.
Guenther’s cause of death is unknown.
Support services have been made available to students and staff.
Deetz described Guenther, who also for a time served as an assistant baseball coach, as witty and intelligent.
“Mr. Guenther’s personality was bigger than life,” he said. “When he walked into a room, everybody’s day was brightened. He was a great unifier of students and teachers. I loved standing next to him at events because you were always going to laugh. You were always going to feel great.”
Seventh-grader Avril Spaulding, one of his social studies students, said Guenther was fun and always happy.
“He was funny and kind and loved his job,” she said. “He would always make funny voices and make us laugh. He would take an interest in our life.”
Head varsity basketball coach Brian Trout said Guenther always was very friendly and loving to students.
“Not just players, but all students,” Trout said. “His top priority was doing what was right for the kids, and what was best for his kids. He was very well-liked by the kids he taught and coached. He was always kind of joking around. He made a huge impact in a short amount of time.”
Trout said Guenther was indispensable to the success of the Argylls, who still have six regular season games left before they open sectional tournament play.
Guenther was the only teacher he had on the coaching staff.
“He’s going to be missed,” he said. ““He did a lot of things for me as an assistant. He and I collaborated about everything, even on a daily basis. He was the one guy I could go to to get in touch with a kid or if a kid needed something.”
Each of Madison-Grant pre-school teacher Jaime Thompson Wilson’s three children either was taught or coached by Guenther.
“He genuinely loved his job, and it showed,” she said.
Guenther was able to reach students because of his wonderful sense of humor, Wilson said.
“He wasn’t afraid to be silly. Kids gravitated to him for his compassion, his integrity,” she said. “He just made every child that he came in contact with feel special. I think any child you come in contact with would say they had a special bond. He was kind and compassionate always.”
Wilson said Guenther made contact not only when there were problems but when students did well, often sending postcards to share how their students were doing in class.
“He was very good at reaching out and building relationships with families beyond the classroom and coaching,” she said.