article courtesy of the Morning Sun

On-campus preschool programs at Central Michigan University were cancelled Wednesday as staff and the families they serve mourned the unexpected death of a beloved teacher.

Mari Potter was being remembered for her love of teaching and the children she taught as the Child Development and Learning Lab community came to grips with her death Tuesday night, just weeks after being diagnosed with lymphoma.

“What an inspiration Mari was,” said Angie Morgan on Facebook. “She will always be remembered and will forever be a legacy, for she is one of those who has touched hundreds of lives and was able to impact so many.”

As a teaching lab that teaches both preschool students and future teachers, many were remembering the impact Potter had far beyond the CMU campus.

“Mari was such a positive light to our field of early childhood educators,” said Katie Roberts. “I am so glad I was able to spend a short time of my education around her influence.”

Others were remembering her for the role she played with their own children.

“In your world where you love littles so beautifully, I am glad you are allowing yourselves a moment to rest and sink,” said Jennifer Fields.

“Those little people will absorb your authentic loss. Thank you for all you do for children. Mari has always been so proud of the work that happens in that space.”

Her daughter Mya Gilmore told friends that Potter has spent most of the past six weeks in the home she built eating organic and fair trade foods, much of it from Greentree Grocery in Mt. Pleasant, another of the many community organizations to which she donated her time and efforts.

Eric Baerren is among those who knew her from Greentree.

Baerren said he awoke to memories of Potter on social media but it took time to sink in.

“I was shocked to learn that they were all bittersweet remembrances and that the place in which we all live is a little dimmer today,” he said.

“We were acquaintances, and her ever-present smile always made me think that with all the dark, ugly corners of the world that at least the one she occupied was taken care of.”

Potter graduated from CMU in 1996 with a degree in child development. She worked with the Head Start program for 22 years before becoming a member of the CDLL teaching team in 2010.

Arrangements are being handled by Charles R. Lux Family Funeral Home in Mt. Pleasant.

No services are planned.