Hundreds in St. Louis mourn and honor Jean Kuczka, teacher killed in school shooting

Expressed during a funeral Mass, with his four siblings by his side, Stephen Kuczka Jr., Her son, uttered, “She was the utmost altruistic individual we have ever encountered, and she consistently stood by our side.” “Mother firmly believed that each child is a distinctive individual and should be given an opportunity to acquire knowledge.”

The Kuczka family, consisting of people from across the St. Louis region, gathered at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School to remember the life of their beloved matriarch, who was a teacher of physical education and health.

Displaying a collection of portraits featuring her and Bell, garlands of crimson, golden, and amber blossoms were positioned next to the casket of the 61-year-old educator. The ceremony incorporated scriptural passages and hymns conducted by Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski.

Kuczka was born in St. Louis, Missouri on March 7, 1961, as the first of four children to Kenneth Kirk and Barbara Edmonds. It was during her high school years that she developed a passion for education, particularly in health and physical education. Later on, she pursued a degree in this field at the University of Missouri, and now she is continuing her journey as a graduate, teaching swimming lessons at her local YMCA.

Kuczka was a part of the Field Hockey team Championship at the National University of Missouri State. She was inducted into the Hall of Sports Fame in Missouri in 2010. In addition to her teaching career, she also led numerous awards, including a national honor recognizing her accomplishments in wellness and health in CVPA.

Kuczka has been coaching cross-country at the Collegiate School of Bioscience and Medicine, which shares a campus with CVPA. After teaching for 18 years at Holy Founders Seven, a Catholic school in St. Louis County, she is now at Holy Cross Academy, a school that has been affiliated with St. Louis Public Schools since 2002.

A full choir in red robes and a booming organ filled the cathedral’s halls as mourners prayed and sang alongside the clergy.

The Rev. Leo Spezia, who serves as the associate pastor at Most Sacred Heart Parish in Eureka, expressed, “Teaching was not merely a profession for her – it was a divine purpose.” “However, she conveyed the truth to her students with candor, even if it wasn’t always what they desired to hear. … Mrs. K was aware of her teaching approach, and her goal was to equip individuals for their journey through life.”

In December, Kuczka was getting ready for the 15th yearly bicycle excursion to heal diabetes at Amelia Island, Florida. She organized a quiz evening to back up the association and was a dynamic volunteer with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Kuczka is additionally recognized for her philanthropic endeavor.

“Jean is truly a better place in the world,” said Stephen Kuczka Jr. “She has left us with memories that we will forever cherish, and she has touched each and every one of us,” he added.

Kuczka and Stephen Kuczka tied the knot in 1983. They would have commemorated their 40th wedding anniversary in January.

In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by six grandchildren and her brother Andrew Kirk, as well as her sisters Susan Weeke and Catherine Kelly. Her daughters Abigail and Isabelle Kuczka and Megan Boeger, along with another son Joseph Kuczka, also survive her.

Kuczka was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in the southern part of St. Louis.