Jul. 1—Fred Veeder, a Dodgen Middle School teacher who was named the Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year in 2018, has died, according to an obituary. He was 65.
Veeder, an Atlanta resident, was surrounded by family when he "died peacefully" on June 23 while in hospice care, his obituary states.
"His love for life was shared as a light in the lives of all who knew him and impacted the community so that his memory lives on," the obituary for the math teacher of 18 years reads.
A GoFundMe page created by colleague and friend Kari Viland indicates Veeder had been hospitalized multiple times earlier in the year and had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
"A long recovery lies ahead, and we want to help support him in his journey. As Fred faces this challenge, we want to clear the way for him to focus on healing rather than worrying about hospital bills and eventual lost income," Viland wrote when the page was created.
On June 23, she provided another update:
"It is with a heavy heart that we must tell you that our Mr. Veeder passed away this morning. He was with his beloved family and was not in pain," Viland wrote. "We take comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on in the minds and hearts of so many. Please know that he so enjoyed receiving and reading all of your messages."
By Thursday, the fundraising page had collected more than $38,000 in donations.
In a statement, Cobb Schools spokesperson Nan Kiel said the district is mourning the loss of Veeder, who she said was described by students as "awesome," and "one in seven billion," and was praised by fellow teachers as a phenomenal mentor.
"Our hearts go out to the Dodgen Middle School community, who Fred Veeder called family," Kiel said. "Our grief counseling team is available to provide support during this time of loss."
A memorial service will be held at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church on Wednesday, July 28, at 2 p.m. Donations can be made in Veeder's honor to the Atlanta Humane Society, at atlantahumane.org/in_memory, or to the "charity of your choice," his obituary says.
Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.