Avis Stone was a fixture at the Mandell Jewish Community Center for more than 25 years.
"Several of the teachers here at the school were actually students of Avis' when they were in preschool," David Jacobs, the Executive Director of the JCC, said.
But Stone, 76, won't be back in her classroom.
She was killed when her car was crushed as she was turning into the JCC library parking lot. She was turning into the driveway on Simsbury Road just before 11:30 a.m. Monday when she collided with a Honda Accord.
Stone was treated at the scene and pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital. The driver of the other vehicle was also injured and taken to St. Francis Hospital.
Several other staff members passed the crash, not knowing Avis was involved.
"Avis' husband had called and said he got a phone call that she was in an accident," said Jane Pasternek, a fellow teacher and the Director of Family Programming. "So I went flying out there and saw it was her car and talked with police and it was just horrific."
It's February vacation so class was not in session at the JCC. Stone was just stopping by to say hello to staff.
She had been on a 3-month family leave and was set to return to class next week.
Her 3-year old students had even made a welcome back poster, eager to have her back.
"She had a happy smiling face for everybody and totally enthralled the kids with her puppets. She would sit on the rocking chair and take out the puppets," Pasternek said.
Besides being a teacher at the JCC for 25 years, Stone would greet every parent and child that walked through the front doors every morning.
"She greets every child by name and they just love her," Kim Charron, a parent of a 3-year-old student, said.
Now Charron and other parents have the daunting task of telling their young children the sad news.
"I think it's important for him to understand that Avis won't be coming back and that she has gone to heaven and that she'll be watching us," Charron said.