Teacher’s final request: Backpacks full of school supplies for needy students at her funeral

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – An elementary school teacher in Georgia made one final request before she died earlier this month of cancer: Instead of flowers, she wanted school supplies for needy students.

Photos posted to social media show backpacks lining the aisles at her funeral by friends honoring her wishes.

Tammy Waddell died at age 58 and was a teacher in Forsyth County, Ga. Her cousin, Brad Johnson, described her as a “teacher to the end” in a now-viral Twitter post.

"Because she had such a giving spirit, [she] just wanted to give back to the community," Johnson told PIX11 News. "So instead of flowers, she just wanted to do I guess one last gesture."

Another image he posted shows Waddell’s honorary pallbearers, all former teacher colleagues, standing outside a home. There were over 100 backpacks dropped off at her funeral.

Johnson says even though his cousin is gone, she continues to teach the importance of kindness.

“This was her final lesson—and you know possibly her best lesson—is that you know to give and to teach because you don't know who you're going to reach," said Johnson.

If you are interested in donating, a local charity, Project Connect, is still collecting school supplies. You can send backpacks to Project Connect c/o Forsyth Central High School, 131 Almon C. Hill Drive, Cumming, GA 30040.