Former students remember the late Myra Thompson

Published: Jun. 22, 2015 at 10:48 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2015 at 11:10 PM EDT
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Source :WCSC
Source :WCSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The family of Myra Thompson is dealing with her death in a private manner.

A member of Mother Emanuel AME said Thompson was an active member at the church, serving a role on the church property committee, along with teaching bible study, which she did the night police say Dylann Roof, 21, entered the church and shot and killed Thompson and eight others.

Thompson was a former teacher in the Charleston County School District.

Students say she taught at Brentwood Middle School, now known as Meeting Street Elementary School at Brentwood, in North Charleston, during the 1980s and 1990s.

During those years she went by the name Myra Quarles.

Students from those years say they're devastated by the news.

Tobe Hester, of Mt. Pleasant, said he had Thompson as a teacher during seventh grade. He said she was a passionate teacher who wanted to see her students succeed.

"Most classes at Brentwood were fairly raucous, but not Ms. Quarles class. She was firm, yet loving, and I definitely remember her fondly for that."

Ariel Shaw was another students of Thompson's who remembers her years with the former Ms. Quarles.

"[She] touched hundreds of students and native Charlestonians," Shaw said. "She was stern, yet loving and wanted you to succeed. She loved her students."

Hester said he found out about her death when he posted to Twitter a picture of the nine, not realizing his former teacher was one of them.

"One of my friends came back and said, you know Myra Thompson is actually Ms. Quarles," Hester said. "All the emotions kind of flooded back in, in terms of who Ms. Quarles was in the seventh grade when I was 12 years old. Just how sweet and Godly of a woman she was, and I'm quite certain she was praying for her students, and I'm probably one of the products of that."

"The last time I saw her was at her home in downtown Charleston, several years ago and she was as encouraging then as she was in my adolescent years," Shaw added. "She touched many and will certainly be missed."

Hester said he isn't surprised Thompson was teaching bible study the night she was killed.

He said she always had a way with getting her message across to whomever she was teaching.

Teaching and learning was a motivation for Thompson, Felicia Breeland, a member of the church, said.

It's part of the reason Thompson was studying to become a minister.

Her husband, Anthony Thompson is the Reverend at the Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church off Bull Street in downtown Charleston.

It's believed he is the man that spoke during Roof's bond hearing on Friday.

The comments given in court were, ''I forgive you, my family forgives you. We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent. Confess. Give your life to the one who matters the most, Christ, so he can change your ways no matter what happens to you and you'll be okay. Do that and you'll be better off than you are right now.''

"That absolutely astounded me," Hester said. "As a Christian it shouldn't, but still it's something that absolutely astounds me, because it's only on the firm foundation of Christ that that can happen. That he would give that kind of grace and mercy in a time like that was absolutely amazing to me."

While the family copes in private, former students have shared their thoughts on Twitter and Facebook using the #MyraThompson.

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