Dana Chipley, a teacher at Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle School and softball coach at Midland Valley High School, died Tuesday morning.
The Aiken County Public School District shared the news with staff and the community via the LBC Middle School website.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of a tremendous loss to our LBC school family and the Midland Valley community as one of our most beloved teachers and coaches, Dana Chipley, passed away while on summer vacation," the message states.
Chipley was the wife of Clay Chipley, a firefighter.
The Central Savannah River Area's Support 1 organization, which supports emergency service workers, shared words of support on its Facebook page.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to one loving First Responder family this morning. Dana Chipley, wife of Firefighter Clay Chipley, passed away this morning unexpectedly. She was a mother, a teacher, a coach, a first responder wife, and Clay’s best friend. Our Board of Directors and many members of our volunteer team have connections with these two and their family. May God lay his healing hands on them during this difficult time. We love you guys," reads the Support 1 post.
The school district encouraged parents to utilize school counseling resources. District counselors are providing support for staff, faculty and students affected by the loss, and the school district will share additional information regarding counseling services as soon as it's available, according to a statement from the district.
"Affectionately known as 'Coach Chip' to her school family at LBC Middle, her athletics family at Midland Valley High School where she coached softball for many years, and throughout the Horse Creek Valley area, Mrs. Chipley was an amazing person, colleague and friend," reads a statement from the school district.
Casey Rogers, principal of LBC Middle School, released a statement honoring Chipley.
"Coach Chipley’s commitment to our community went far beyond the classroom as she was an amazing educator, an excellent coach, and an even better person. She dedicated her life to the next generation and the Midland Valley area is a better place because of her," Rogers said in his statement.
Update 08/10: A GoFundMe for the Dana Chipley Memorial Fund has raised more than $5,000. The fundraiser is available at this link.