ETBU mourns the loss of student killed in automobile crash

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MARSHALL, Texas (1/16/09)- A student at East Texas Baptist University was killed in a two vehicle wreck just east of Hallsville, Texas, on U.S. Highway 80 Thursday morning, January 15, 2009. Senior Jessica Teutsch, age 21, of Haughton, La., was traveling to her student teaching assignment at Hallsville Junior High when the fatal crash occurred.

“The ETBU campus is devastated by the loss of Jessica,” said ETBU President Dr. Bob E. Riley. “Accidents such as this one truly make us appreciate that we are in a ‘community of faith.’ Our faith assures that God is in control of things we truly do not understand.”

“Our prayers are for Jessica’s family and friends that must cope with this tragic loss,” said Dr. Riley. Thursday evening Baker Auditorium, where ETBU holds Chapel, was open for staff, faculty, and students to gather, share stories about Jessica, and pray for her immediate family.

The beloved, quiet, gentle-spirited student was in her final semester at ETBU and scheduled to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Music in All-Level Music Education. Teutsch’s wall on Facebook is covered with tributes to her life by many ETBU students and long-time friends after hearing about her death. Her last Facebook status update from Tuesday, January 13 at 4:43 p.m. reads, “Jessica got to teach today.”

ETBU Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Dr. Paul Vickers shared, “In one of her assignments she wrote, ‘I want my students to be successful in everything they do; I want them to know that the sky is the limit, and anything is possible in my classroom.’ ”

“I would want people to know that Jessica was simply not a teacher by training, but a teacher by design,” said Dr. Vickers reflecting on how she conducted herself in classroom assignments.

Teutsch was a member of the ETBU Concert Choir as well as involved in Baptist Student Ministry serving on the encouraging team called Barnabas. She was a 2005 graduate of Haughton High School.

“Jessica was a joyful presence in the Music program,” said ETBU Dean of the School of Fine Arts Dr. Tom Webster. “She had a gift for handling the challenges of college life with grace and a smile, and she also shared the stress and challenges that her friends faced as well, helping them through the difficulties of life.”

Dr. Webster called her a delightful student, musically gifted, and committed to always doing her best in every task. “I will miss her, as will as our faculty and students. But I rejoice in her life that was lived for God’s pleasure. She was truly the embodiment of God’s love,” said Dr. Webster.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, January 18, at First Baptist Church of Bossier City, La., in the Faith Chapel at 2:00 p.m. Visitation will be held Saturday, January 17, at Hillcrest Funeral Home in Haughton, La., from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. She is survived by her parents, Scott and Lisa Teutsch, and two younger siblings. Her father is the pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church of Haughton, La.

ETBU will hold a tribute to Jessica Teutsch’s life at the beginning of Chapel on Monday, January 19, at 10:00 a.m.

Report from Mike Midkiff, ETBU

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