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COVID-19 has claimed the life of Nibley Elementary School principal Kelly Rindlisbacher.

The Herald Journal reported in mid-July that the long-time Cache Valley educator was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden with complications from COVID-19. At that time he was reported to be slowly improving, but news of his passing came Friday night.

Marilyn Erekson — a neighbor, fellow church ward member and former colleague of Rindlisbacher — said the Nibley principal and his wife, Lori, are dear friends who have come to her family’s aid on many occasions.

“Their kindness and sense of humor has carried us through some tough times,” Erekson said. “Kelly was our home teacher for a long time, part of which was while my husband, Ted, was going through cancer treatments. When changes took place he still came and checked on us and continued to up until we have all been in lockdown over Covid-19.”

Erekson was an art teacher at Spring Creek Middle School when Rindlisbacher was principal there and said he always “cared deeply” about the people he worked and associated with. “Our hearts are breaking for Lori and the kids and grandkids. We love them so much. I can only imagine what they are going through right now. We will miss him terribly and hope we can be of as great a support to his family as he has been to ours.”

Danny Beus, a Nibley Elementary School parent and community council member who worked closely with Rindlisbacher, had high praise for the man he called “Mr. R.”

“I really got to know and appreciate Mr. R very much … He’s impacted the lives of people for a long, long time here in Cache Valley, and so he will be missed,” Beus said, singling out Rindlisbacher’s work reaching out to local minority communities as particularly noteworthy.

“He was actively looking for Latino parents to participate on the school community council,” Beus said. “He was looking for some support staff that spoke Spanish because Nibley Elementary does have quite a bit of Latino students, and so he was always actively looking for solutions to help them.”

When contacted in July during the early stages of Rindlisbacher’s illness, CCSD spokesperson Tim Smith said as far as the district knew the principal wasn’t exposed to the virus at the school.

Smith issued the following statement Saturday in response to the news about the school principal’s death:

“The Cache County School District is deeply saddened by the loss of a family member, friend and fellow educator ... We want to express our heartfelt sympathy to Kelly’s family, especially his wife, Lori, and their children. Kelly was an exceptional, dedicated educator with a long career in our district.”

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