Loved Teacher Lives On
Northern News Services
RANKIN INLET (Dec 17/97) - The life and legacy of learning of a Rankin Inlet teacher who died of cancer last week will live on in all who knew her.
Heather Solomon, 45, was a teacher who will continue teaching even after her Dec. 8 death at home with her husband, Metro.
A hard-working, modest woman and a devout Baha'i, Solomon would have been the last one to expect the huge impact her death has had on her colleagues and students.
Every student at Leo Ussak elementary school where she taught made a piece of art in memory of Solomon that lines all four walls in the gymnasium.
It's their words that perhaps best explain the impact she had on the lives of people who knew her. Each piece describes her as a kind, loving teacher who was always there for her students.
"She was such a nice lady," said one former student. "She will be missed," said another.
A mother of two daughters, Mary Ann, 18, and Patricia Ann, 16, Solomon was an active member of the community as a Girl Guide leader and a Baha'i.
Gerry Pflueger, a close friend and fellow Baha'i, said that Solomon was a deeply spiritual woman.
"I don't know of any corner of her life that wasn't touched by her faith," Pflueger said. "It was like a beautiful tapestry."
In fact, added Pflueger, Solomon came to Coral Harbour in 1977 as a Baha'i pioneer. It was shortly after that she met her husband, Metro, who is the principal at Leo Ussak elementary school. Over the years, the family has lived in several other Northern communities, including Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay and Yellowknife.
"But Rankin Inlet is where she kept coming back," said Pflueger. "She had said she never wanted to leave. She was home."
And this is where she was buried, at her request, in a simple, but beautiful pine box made especially for her in Rankin Inlet shortly after she passed away.
"She said she didn't want to be treated any different than anybody else," said Pflueger. "It was a little more than just a pine box, it was made for her."
Thursday night's Christmas concert will be dedicated to the memory of Heather Solomon, who above all, will be remembered for her heart.
©Copyright 1997, Northern News Services