By Gerri Miller
Funeral services will be held tomorrow, April 15, for a beloved fourth grade Pine Level Elementary School (PLES) teacher who students said treated everyone like family.
Deatsville resident Michele Hughes Ingram, 55, passed away on Sunday. She taught school for 21 years and was an English Language Arts teacher at PLES for the past 14 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, April 15, at 2 p.m. at Wadsworth Baptist Church in Deatsville with Pastors Walter Batyski and Tom Jordan officiating. Burial will follow in the Ingram family cemetery. Visitation will be held tomorrow at Wadsworth Baptist Church from 12:30 until 2 p.m.
“If you knew Mrs. Ingram, you were loved by her,” said PLES Principal Christen Harry. “She loved, cared and listened to anyone who talked to her.”
Mrs. Harry said parents were notified on Sunday of Mrs. Ingram’s death so that they could talk to their children before they returned to school on Monday. “She had been out sick for several weeks and we wanted to give the children time on Sunday to process the news with their families,” she said.
When the children returned on Monday, there were two counselors in her classrooms. “We also had school counselors available to talk one on one with any child who needed to talk,” she said.
The students wrote notes and letters and drew pictures which will be presented to Mrs. Ingram’s family today. Maggie, the school’s facility dog, also provided emotional support to the children. Mrs. Ingram has three grandchildren at PLES who she brought to school with her every day and Maggie paid special visits to them.
Mrs. Harry said groups of faculty and staff gathered before and after school on Monday to share memories of the teacher everyone loved and sorely misses. “It was so good for our faculty to be able to talk through their grief by celebrating Mrs. Ingram’s life,” she said.
Mrs. Harry said there will be events at the end of the school year to honor Mrs. Ingram, including a balloon release with the children and an undetermined event with the family. She said she has ordered a marker to honor Mrs. Ingram to be placed in the school’s outdoor classroom. “It will probably go in our butterfly garden,” she said.
Mrs. Ingram was preceded in death by her father, J.B. Hughes; maternal grandfather, Glen Wingard; and paternal grandparents, Byron and Pauline Hughes. She is survived by her loving husband, Mark Ingram; two sons, Chris Ingram (Tiffany), Josh Ingram (Brittany); her mother, Glenda Hughes; grandmother, Virginia Wingard; two sisters, Candace Stiff (Tommy), Melanie Hilyer (Craig); four grandchildren, Cason, Cade, Kinley, and J.B. Ingram; and numerous extended family and friends.
The family expressed a special thanks to the staff at Prattville Baptist ICU, and to the fourth-grade teachers and staff at Pine Level Elementary School. Flowers are appreciated, or donations in her honor may be made to Wadsworth Baptist Church.
“Only once or twice in a lifetime do you come across someone who never said a negative thing,” Mrs. Harry said. “Mrs. Ingram was one of these people. She was always so positive and encouraging.”