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Theresa Lee Gill
March 23, 1956 Dec. 14, 2013
Theresa obit
Theresa Lee Gill, 1956-2013 - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Theresa Lee Gill

March 23, 1956 - Dec. 14, 2013

Theresa Gill, an award-winning language arts teacher for Ceres Unified School District, lost her courageous battle against breast cancer and died peacefully at home on Dec. 14. She was 57 years old.

Ms. Gill loved learning and spent her career instilling that love in others. After graduation from Ceres High School in 1974, Theresa moved to Eugene, Ore., where she attended the University of Oregon, graduating with a degree in English and Education in 1989.

She returned to her hometown of Ceres to work for Ceres Unified, teaching language arts at Mae Hensley Junior High for 10 years. During that time, she obtained her National Board certification and was awarded "Teacher of the Year" for the Ceres Unified School District, Stanislaus County, and the California League of Middle Schools in 2002. She was a member and instructor for the California Writing Project, as well as involved in California Reading Association.

Theresa requested to join the brand-new Whitmore Charter School during its planning phases. She was instrumental in creating the first middle school model in the district, developing unique curriculum and instruction methods, and mentoring young teachers. During this time she received her master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from CSU Stanislaus in 2006. She retired from Whitmore in June to focus on battling her disease. Her former students and colleagues will remember her as a person who championed literacy and learning and whom loved life to the fullest.

Theresa is survived by her daughter, Starla Morgan; grandson, Richard Lee Morgan; her parents, Edwin and Joyce Pugh; her brother, Ed Pugh; her partner, Eric Gillis; and beloved dogs Betty and Suki.

A memorial service for Theresa will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30 at Salas Brothers, 419 Scenic Dr., Modesto.

The family has requested in lieu of flowers that donations be made in her name to: The CUSD Foundation, P.O. Box 307, Ceres, CA 95307; or to National Public Radio (NPR)/Capitol Public Radio, KUOP, 7055 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento CA 95826.

-Ceres (Calif.) Courier
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013