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Murdered Danvers High School Teacher Remembered As An Inspiration

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ANDOVER (CBS/AP) — Approximately one-thousand people showed up for the funeral of murdered Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer Monday.

Hundreds of people packed St. Augustine Church in Andover for the funeral Monday. (Photo by Sera Congi - WBZ-TV)

Hundreds of people packed St. Augustine Church in Andover for the funeral Monday. (Photo by Sera Congi – WBZ-TV)

About 400 students from Danvers High were part of the large crowd at St. Augustine Church in Ritzer’s hometown of Andover.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Ritzer’s cousin Gina McDaniel spoke of her in a prepared eulogy.

She says Ritzer made many students enthusiastic about math, even those who did not like the subject at first.

“Your memory will live on forever in the hearts of everyone you touched as a teacher, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend. Heaven stole an angel from us today. You will always be in our hearts, we love you, rest in peace,” McDaniel told Ritzer’s friends and family.

Joe Spanos taught Colleen at Andover High School, then worked with her as a teaching assistant.

“Colleen was the most beautiful and amazing soul, that any parent could ask for, any friend could ask for,” he told WBZ-TV.  “You couldn’t ask for a more perfect human being.”

Hundreds also turned out for calling hours at the church on Sunday, remembering the popular teacher as a positive and uplifting influence on her students and all of those who knew her.

Colleen Ritzer. (Facebook photo)

Colleen Ritzer. (Facebook photo)

Police say Ritzer was killed in a school bathroom after dismissal Tuesday.

Her body was found in the woods behind the school.

Fourteen-year-old Philip Chism is charged with murder in her death.

He has pleaded not guilty.  There’s still no word on a motive in the case.

Ritzer’s family has established a memorial scholarship fund to benefit Andover High School graduates who also pursue teaching careers.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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