Hollie Briggs taught area kids for 42 years. Friends said she had every intention of continuing her career teaching second grade at La Crescent Elementary School when she went into the hospital. Her sudden death was a complete shock.
Larger than life is how friends and fellow teachers described Hollie Briggs.
"She had a laugh like a machine gun that you would hear from her room was just down the hall," said Margaret Cassidy, friend and colleague.
"She didn't she just give you a companionable hug. She was a hugger mugger. She would pull you in."
Jon Steffes taught fourth grade with Hollie at one point in her career. Everyday, like clockwork, he would go to her classroom for a morning talk and a hug.
"It's very hard now to walk into a faculty meeting because she was gonna make a faculty meeting fun. She made everywhere she went fun," said Steffes.
Despite all that, fellow teachers said Hollie always put the kids first.
"Her advocacy for children, her ability to say how can we serve our kids? What's in the best interest of our kids? How can we meet that?" said Cassidy.
Principal Jay Woller said the school is making sure the kids understand the loss of their teacher.
"The day we got back on Monday they wanted to spend some time in art class just drawing and thinking about ms. Briggs. They miss her," said Woller.
"She took care of the kids, she took care of the staff. We have so many things that Hollie said over the years that would turn a negative into a positive. She was sort of a positive energy for our school. She was the heart of our school," said Jon Steffes.
Funeral Services are Saturday, January 16 at La Crescent High School Auditorium from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. followed by a memorial service.
Hollie's friends ask that you wear bright, cheerful colored clothing in recognition of Hollie's upbeat personality.