STRATHAM — The school community is mourning the loss of a special education teacher who was dedicated to his students, his profession, and ensuring that today’s youth understand the value of giving back.
Edward Pease, 48, died suddenly Saturday night after suffering a heart attack at his home in Epping, said Michael Morgan, superintendent of School Administrative Unit 16.
Pease, who grew up in Newmarket, was a special education teacher and case manager at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham and had worked in the district for the last 17 years. He taught at Newmarket High School for five years before joining SAU 16 and working at the old Exeter AREA Junior High School before it closed and students moved into the new Cooperative Middle School (CMS) in 1998.
“He really saw that his whole effort was to help other people. I think he tried to inspire his colleagues and his students to do the same. The kids loved him, and he loved the kids,” Morgan said.
In the hours before his death, Pease had spent part of the day helping two middle school teachers who were in the process of moving. He also helped out Saturday at the Exeter Area Kiwanis Club’s annual Pizza Bowl, held at CMS to raise money for local children’s charities.
Pease was the adviser for the Kiwanis’ Builders Club at CMS. The school serves middle school students from Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham.
“This was his service club, and he really wanted students to be part of the community. He was involved with so many things. He was probably one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met,” said CMS Principal William Furbush.
Pease motivated students to donate thousands of hours to community service work, from helping with “Touch a Truck” events and Exeter’s annual Festival of Trees to lending a hand with holiday food baskets and assisting with the Pease Greeters, a group that welcomes troops passing through the Pease International Airport.
Pease also recently coached girls’ soccer at the school.
“He was involved in the school with students on so many different levels beyond the classroom,” Furbush said.
Colleagues described Pease as a humble man who didn’t want recognition for his work.
After news of Pease’s death spread, the school held a two-hour “time of compassion” at the school Sunday for about 75 staff members.
The school has had grief counselors, social workers and the school psychologist on hand to help students and staff as they cope with the loss.
“Everyone is shocked and in disbelief, and we’re all dealing with our grief as we go through this process,” Furbush said.
Pease leaves behind his wife, Jeanne, and teenage daughter, Morgan.
Services for Pease are planned for later this week.
Visiting hours will be held at the Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home, 77 Exeter St., Newmarket, on Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Sons of the American Legion service will take place on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
A funeral will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Church, Main Street, Newmarket.