Huntsville community mourns Jemison High School teacher described as a fierce ally to students

Jacob Probus died suddenly this week.

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 7:59 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2019 7:43 AM

Fellow educators are remembering a Jemison High School teacher as a mentor and a fierce ally to students.

Jacob Probus died suddenly this week. WAAY 31 talked with a fellow teacher, who says Probus made an impact on everyone who came through his classroom door.

Jacob Probus; Photo from Huntsville City Schools

"We were expecting to see him on the first day back. It's definitely a shock," said Chancellor Cole, a teacher at Jemison.

Cole said he was expecting to see Probus back at Jemison High School in less than a month. The two teachers had daily interactions because their classrooms were just a few doors down from each other.

"He always made it a point to stop by my room before he went out on his daily run just to check on me and to make sure that I was okay in my classroom," said Cole.

Cole said Probus used those runs not only to stay fit, but also to connect with the community near the school.

He would go running everyday after school. He would run through the community and while he was running, he was greeting those in the community and he was greeting students," said Cole.

He says many saw Probus as a mentor and father figure to students.

"A gentle giant, that would be the best way to describe Mr. Probus...one that was there as a fighter for his students and one that supported and worked along with our fellow staff members," said Cole.

Cole expects the start of the school year to be tough for the Jaguars.

"It is going to be something that we as a family here at Jemison High work to get through. It will be different because we will have to walk past that room knowing that Mr. Probus is not with us," he said.

He has a message for everyone as they begin to prepare for school without their beloved teacher.

"We should embody everything, everything that Mr. Probus stood for. Mr. Probus believed in an excellent education and I would tell the students to keep striving and keep pushing forward as Mr. Probus would have wanted us to do," said Cole.

The school has counselors available for students until Friday. They'll be there from 8 a.m. until 4p.m.

A Facebook post says Probus may have died from a bee sting in Gadsden while mowing the lawn of his rental property. He leaves behind a wife and children.

Jemison's student government is planning something to honor him at a later time.

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