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Darcy Anderson

Darcy Anderson ()

VICENZA, Italy — Students remembered Darcy Anderson as someone who would always listen. Colleagues recalled a teacher dedicated to helping her kids, and anyone else. And her brother talked of a woman up for any challenge — even a one-sided snowball fight.

The Vicenza military community honored Anderson, a Vicenza High School geometry teacher, at a memorial service Wednesday. She died June 9 after a fall at a home she had just purchased. She was 54.

“I don’t know what to say, except she was always there for you,” said Sue Vanderbeek, the school nurse who was with her when she died.

Vanderbeek learned firsthand Anderson’s teaching skills, when she needed some help to pass a professional exam. Anderson helped her do it, she said.

Toni Boscalli, who teaches history and English, shared a classroom with Anderson.

“She knew her stuff and knew those kids,” Boscalli said.

Six students paid oral or musical tribute to Anderson during the service.

Jasmine Sims and Niasha Tate both said they’d miss talking with Anderson about their problems more than they’d miss her geometry lessons.

“She was a great person to talk to,” Niasha said.

“Her death has made a huge impact on the person I am, and the person I want to be,” Jasmine said.

Principal Kathleen Reiss said the school was still in a state of shock and mourning. “We learn how precious and fragile our lives really are,” she said.

DODDS Mediterranean District Superintendent Thomas Ellinger said he’d remember two things about Anderson the most: “She always had a smile on her face. She never gave up on a kid who wanted her help.”

Saralyn Anderson, who works at the base exchange, called her “my mom, my best friend, my mentor and now my beautiful angel.”

Bryan Hughs, Anderson’s brother, recalled growing up in Wisconsin, where he and his friends would hone their snowball skills every winter. He said one winter Anderson got a group of her female friends together and challenged them to a fight.

Anderson’s team was obviously losing when she marched up to her opponents and tossed a snowball into her younger brother’s face. She then declared herself the winner and announced it was time for hot chocolate.

Anderson was a week short of completing her third school year in Vicenza. She had taught for more than two decades, including three years at RAF Croughton in England in the early 1990s.

She’s the second teacher at Vicenza to die in the past year. Joe Pellerito, who taught at the elementary school and coached high school sports, died a week before classes began.

In addition to her daughter and brother, Anderson’s survivors include son Phillip Rinaldo of Kaiserslautern, Germany, and sister Debbie Pedrick.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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