A New Jersey man whose wife was killed in a school bus crash Thursday is torn apart over the loss of his partner — a lifelong educator who was beloved by her students.
Kevin Kennedy said he is “devastated and totally crushed” after his 51-year-old wife, Jennifer Williamson, died while chaperoning East Brook Middle School students on a school trip to Waterloo Village, a historic site about 5 miles from the crash site, NJ.com reported.
“My beautiful bride and I have been in total love every day of our lives since the day our eyes met on May 5th, 1994,” Kennedy said in a statement.
“I am in shock, devastated and totally crushed by today’s tragedy to both sides of the Williamson-Kennedy families, the community she taught and the thousands of students and their families she was very proud to serve.”
A 10-year-old girl also died after a school bus collided with a dump truck on Route 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey. The remaining 43 passengers were taken to area hospitals.
Williamson belonged to a tight-knit family that lived near each other in Paramus.
She lived next door to her brother according to her brother-in-law, NJ.com reported.
She had lost both her father and another brother in freak accidents, her brother-in-law said.
Williamson treated her students like they were her own.
“She was a life-long, dedicated educator,” her brother-in-law said.
She and Kennedy were restoring an upstate New York dairy farm where the couple planned to live when she retired from teaching, according to the report.
Students returned to school Friday where they mourned the loss of the educator.
“I feel really sad and devastated,” said sixth-grade student Savannah Clark.
“She made things really, really fun for us kids but now she can’t anymore.”
Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera called Williamson “an amazing person.”
“Paramus will miss her,” he said.
SOURCE: NY Daily News – Megan Cerullo