St. John Brebeuf School students, teachers and alumni filled the church Friday morning for the funeral of Lynn Maggiore Baer, 60, who was teaching at the school up until a few days before she died on Sunday Feb. 12.
Baer had taught in Catholic schools for 22 years, including seven at St. John Brebeuf and 15 at St. Hubert in Palatine.
"There was such an outpouring of love at the funeral," said Rev. Michael Meany, the parish pastor, adding that about 500 people, including many school alumni, attended.
"She was a leader among leaders," Meany added. "She had a 'seize the day' attitude."
That showed in her efforts to obtain two grants to fund a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lab for the school, he said.
Beyond that is how she worked with students, nurturing strengths and also reaching out when students were struggling, Meany added.
"The faculty really respected her," the pastor said.
Christine Aragon, a school parent and active volunteer, described the funeral Mass as very spiritual. When the congregants began to sing "Amazing Grace," a flock of doves stirred in a garden area between the church interior and the periphery, and took flight, she said.
"And her husband, when he said the eulogy, this brilliant sunlight was shining right on him," she continued.
While the funeral may have had inspirational moments, the week before saw its share of tears.
"It was a hard week here," said Charlotte Lindquist, president of the parish's Catholic Women's Club. Ms. Baer taught her class up until Wednesday, Feb. 8, then was not feeling well, and passed away on Sunday, she said.
It was hard for both students and teachers to have someone they saw on a daily basis pass away so suddenly, she said.
Joann Spata, the parish's business manager, said Baer had taught at St. John Brebeuf since 2004.
"She was very dedicated and very wonderful," Spata said.
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