BELLE GLADE, Fla. - The Glades communities are in mourning after losing one of their own. Dr. Effie Grear, who spent 44 years as an educator there, passed away last week following complications during heart surgery. Her life and her legacy were on the minds of many who attended a wake to say goodbye at Glades Central High School on Thursday night.
William Grear, Jr., son of the late Effie Grear is hurting but he is not alone.
"I want everybody to know that I'm not the only one hurting," said Mr. Grear. "This entire community is devastated by this loss."
Grear, 84, was a former Glades Central High School principal and helped shape generations of families over more than four decades as an educator and a leader in the city of Belle Glade.
Hundreds gathered at the Raiders football field, a field that bares Grear's name.
"She demanded that respect. She definitely wasn't mean or anything, but she commanded respect," said Candice Lovely, who is now fully grown. Lovely remembers Grear as a principal and also as an inspiration to become a first grade teacher. "The way that I am with my students is because of the way she was with us," she said.
After a lifetime of service, Grear's friends, family and community are forced now to press on without her.
"Her legacy will be reaching, teaching, loving, learning and not leaving nobody behind," said David Nelson, Glades Central High School class of 1978.
A funeral will be held Saturday at Glades Central High School gymnasium.