Hundreds gather to mourn loss of Canfield teacher - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Hundreds gather to mourn loss of Canfield teacher

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CANFIELD, Ohio - A sea of yellow and green balloons and lit candles fill the front yard of Canfield Middle School where hundreds of current and former students, parents, and teachers gathered to remember and mourn the loss of a favorite teacher Thursday evening.

Ken Reel passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 66 years.

21 news first told you about the eighth grade American History teacher last year after Reel was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in February. A couple of his loyal students, Emma Hartshorn and Delaney Bresnahan decided to make " Team Reel" T-shirts to show support in Reel's fight and raise money for the American Cancer Society.

"I'm really just happy I was able to get to know him and learn all he had to teach us," Hartshorn says.

Bresnahan describes him as "one of the greatest men I've ever known."

"But I'm happy that he's out of all the pain that he was in," she says.

Reel, who taught for 44 years, had a sense of humor and charisma that made a lasting impression on his students young and old. They shared those memories on the balloon tags.

"He was pretty much the teacher that made me enjoy eighth grade the most. And that he impacted a lot of generations of students and helped them basically," high school junior Maleck Saleh says.

Former student, Lance Hartshorn remembers Reel's favorite historical quote, "Disperse Ye Rebels!" fondly.

"He would walk out into the hallway and say 'disperse ye rebels' and it reminded you of exactly  what he was trying to teach you," Hartshorn explains.

Reel also coached eighth grade girls basketball.

Crissy Gelonese, one of his former players who will be a senior in high school next year, says she learned a lot from Reel on and off the court.

"He not only taught you the game of basketball, but he taught you how to be a lady, how to show respect in all sorts of ways and how to hold yourself higher as a person," she says.

Reel's passing leaves a great void in the halls of Canfield Middle School, but he will forever remain in the hearts of many.

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