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District closes Gibbs school for teacher’s funeral

John MolseedMay 26, 2019

George Gibbs Jr. Elementary School was closed Friday as staff honored the memory of teacher Jill Hillesheim, who died there Monday morning.

“We send our sincere condolences to the family of Jill Hilleshiem,” read a statement released by the Rochester Public School District. “Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of the Hilleshiems.”

Hillesheim, 52, suffered a medical emergency in a classroom at the school on Monday morning. She had been a teacher in Rochester since 1991.

“Jill was an amazing woman with a heart of gold and spent her entire career teaching special education students and volunteering with many organizations throughout the community,” states a message on a GoFundMe page created to help Hillshiem’s husband, Sam, and their children, Rena and Luke, cover funeral and ongoing expenses.

A John Marshall High School graduate, Hillsheim’s community activities were vast and included work with Grace Lutheran Church, the Rochester Civitan Club, Aldrich Nursery School, Hiawatha Homes, the Festival of Trees, the Elton Hills PTSA, Girl Scouts, Rochester Youth Hockey, John Marshall Band Board and Zumbro Lutheran Church.

The funeral for Hillesheim was at Zumbro Lutheran Church on Friday.

According to her obituary, Hilleshiem received a master’s degree in special education from Saint Mary’s University in Winona.

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