Former Issaquah teacher dies

June 17, 2014

By Staff

Longtime Issaquah High School teacher Frances Crelly passed away peacefully at her Seattle home May 5.

Crelly influenced generations of Issaquah students, beginning at the school in 1944 and retiring in 1983. She started as an English teacher, taught art, directed school plays and ultimately retired as a Spanish instructor.

“Words seem to be inadequate to recount the hundreds of lives you have touched in your 39 years as a classroom teacher, confidant, adviser, director and friend to young people at Issaquah High,” Issaquah School Board members said in a letter upon her retirement.

Crelly stayed in touch with many of her students, but tended to shy away from the spotlight, former pupil Karen Anderson said. The Issaquah High School class of 1959 wanted to honor her at its 45th reunion, but she respectfully declined.

The popular teacher also didn’t want a big fuss at the news of her passing, either, but as word spread among her students, they took to comment sections on Facebook, and her two-sentence Seattle Times obituary to leave their remembrances.

“While one can appreciate she may not have wanted a fuss made over her, the fact remains she made a difference in many lives,” said Bob Oppie, whose wife and children benefitted from Crelly’s instruction. “A light such as hers cannot remain under a basket.”

Anderson spoke to Crelly as recently as mid-April, and said she was in good spirits, displaying her usual humor. It was then that Crelly requested a sort of radio silence when it came to her passing, Anderson said.

“All I will say is that Frances Crelly loved a good mystery — whether on TV or in a book,” Anderson said. “With her request for silence on her passing, she has left us with one. She would have had a good laugh at all the inquiries!”

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