CHESHIRE — Family, friends and members of the community gathered Wednesday to mourn the loss of a beloved high school teacher.
Megumi Yamamoto, 48, was found dead on Oct. 4 in a wooded area near her home. Police said the cause of death has not been determined.
Dozens gathered to share memories of Yamamoto in the Wednesday ceremony at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home, where hundreds of people also came to pay their respects during visitation hours on Tuesday.
Only several hundred feet from Cheshire High School, the 11 a.m. ceremony was attended by students and teachers alike. Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Solan said counseling services have been provided to students.
“The news of her loss has had a devastating impact on our students and our community,” Solan said in a press conference last week.
According to her obituary, Yamamoto was born in Tokyo, Japan, but was a longtime Cheshire resident. Yamamoto taught English at Cheshire High School since 1997 and in 2011 was named teacher of the year.
Friends and family spoke of her “softness, vulnerability and grace” and how she loved origami, feminism and knitting. The ceremony included readings from Yamamoto’s favorite books and poems.
Yamamoto was an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden. Rev. Dr. Jan Carlsson-Bull spoke to the ways Yamamoto was involved in the church.
“The main parts of her Cheshire story are here,” Carlsson-Bull said. “But they fail to address the beauty and complexity that was Megumi Yamamoto.”
Memorial contributions and gifts may be sent to Unitarian Universalist Church, 328 Paddock Ave., Meriden, or Owatonna Public Library, 105 North Elm Ave., Owatonna, Minnesota.