Funerals announced for Richland mayor's wife, Richland High student
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:56 pm
RICHLAND, Mo. (Dec. 30, 2008) — Linda Wall, 63, and Levi Clark, 17, died just a few hours apart following a Saturday afternoon crash on Highway 133 east of Richland. This week, funeral services for both Clark and Wall will be held two days apart in the community where Wall taught school for many years and where Clark attended school.
Clark’s funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Richland High School, with visitation Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Long Funeral Home in Crocker and also from 10 a.m. to the time of service on Wednesday at the high school.
Wall’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the First Christian Church of Richland, with visitation from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at the church.
Both were well-known in northwestern Pulaski County. Wall, the wife of the mayor of Richland, Bob Wall, had retired after more than three decades in the Richland R-IV School District; Clark had been battling leukemia and family members said his cancer was in remission at the time of his death.
Richland Junior High School Principal Michele Hedges, who had been principal of Richland Elementary School when Wall taught there, knew both Wall and Clark well.
“(Wall) had worked for the Richland School District for 33 years and she was very well known and loved,” Hedges said. “She really had a passion for teaching in general and just had a great love for kids.”
Hedges said Wall began her career at a teacher’s aide in the Richland school, then taught third grade for 12 years, fourth grade for four years, and second grade for six years, finishing the last few years of her career as a Title I math teacher. She had also been instrumental in getting Richland’s Accelerated Reading program underway, Hedges said.
“She really did enjoy hands-on learning and in math she was able to really put those skills to work with different manipulatives,” Hedges said. “Reading was also a big passion of hers. Those basic skills, I think, that’s why she really enjoyed going down to the lower grades.”
Wall was also active in the First Christian Church of Richland and other community activities, including the Richland’s Miss Merry Christmas pageant. In retirement, she continued to reach out to local teachers who didn’t have family members in the community.
“One teacher in particular whose husband is stationed in Iraq, Mrs. Wall called her and invited her and her son to come over on Christmas night,” Hedges said. “The teacher said, ‘I can’t possibly intrude on your Christmas with your family,’ and she said, ‘You are family.’ … She was the kind of person who just took care of others.”
Hedges said she also knows the sole survivor of Saturday’s crash, Wall’s 11-year-old granddaughter Katie, who was moderately injured. Katie Wall had been one of Hedges’ Sunday School students, she said.
“They are a very nice family and willing to help anybody,” Hedges said. “She’s going to be greatly missed.”
Levi Clark had originally lived in Richland until his family built a house in the Crocker R-II School District and moved there, Hedges said, and he was one of Hedges’ son’s best friends.
“He developed leukemia and in sixth grade we held a benefit at Richland Elementary and worked with Crocker and invited all the Crocker people to Richland,” Hedges said. “We’ve always stayed in touch with his family, and just recently as a sophomore, his family felt it was best for him to move back to Richland.”
Clark was known as the “mascot” of the Crocker basketball team, and when chemotherapy caused him to lose his hair, the basketball team did something unexpected that became widely known to encourage Clark.
“He was younger and could not play on the team, but in support of Levi, the whole basketball team shaved their heads,” Hedges said.
Many in both communities are hurting, Hedges said, and the Richland High School location was selected to make it possible to have the maximum possible attendance. Hedges said she also shares the pain of many students and adults in her adopted community she’s called home for the last nine years.
“I get involved with the people here, and sometimes that makes it hard at times like this,” Hedges said.