A Rotorua teacher who died after a short illness has been remembered as an "amazing teacher" who touched "lots of people's hearts" and the "best friend" any son could wish for.
Tributes continue to flow for 58-year-old Linda Joy Grey, who died on September 5 at home surrounded by her family and friends after a stroke.
Grey taught for 19 years at various schools including Papakura Normal, Rotorua Intermediate and, since the start of year, Kaitao Intermediate.
Kaitao Intermediate acting principal Debbie Holmes said contacting the parents of Grey's pupils on Friday night were the "hardest phone calls" she had ever had to make.
"Linda was just incredibly passionate about teaching and very knowledgeable about the curriculum. She was a real asset to our school, " Holmes said.
"She was an amazing teacher and absolutely loved her students. She had a fantastic way of connecting with them and often used humour to do so."
Holmes said Grey always went the extra mile.
"Linda was always right there when you needed her and she would pick up the pieces often when you didn't even know you needed help."
"Her death is devastating to us and her students and it's an incredible loss not just for our school but for education as well," she said.
Grey taught at Rotorua Intermediate for eight years, before moving to Kaitao Intermediate.
Rotorua Intermediate principal Garry de Thierry said Grey experienced some medical issues while at his school and he and other colleagues supported her during that time.
"Linda was something special. She had quite an amazing relationship with her students and her ability to keep her students engaged in learning had to be seen to be believed.
"There was a great level of respectful banter and good humour between Linda and her students which she often used when a student started to go off track," he said.
"She was an outstanding role model and mentor for other teachers, particularly new graduate teachers who I used to send into her classroom to watch her in action."
De Thierry said Grey was the sort of teacher any student would love to have.
"Linda has left a huge legacy of love for learning among so many past and present students and she is a role model for the teaching profession.
"She is fondly remembered and will be deeply missed."
Grey's son Jacob, 21, wanted to say thank you for all the messages of support.
"I knew my mother was an amazing teacher but I'm completely blown away to read all the heartwarming messages of love, respect and support," he said.
Jacob said his mother spent her final days at home under the care of Rotorua Hospice.
"She was an amazing mum. We didn't have a lot of money growing up but she made sure I always had food in my stomach, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.
"We had the kind of relationship where we were best friends, not just mother and son, and as an adult, my mother treated me like we were equals.
"She was always there for me and backed me 100 per cent. It was the best 21 years of my life."
Jacob said his mother was a "living angel" and he was still struggling to come to terms with the fact his beloved mother was gone.
"If anyone wants to pay their respects, it would be great if they could make a small donation to Rotorua Hospice who were absolute angels in the way they cared for mum."
Grey is survived by her mother Lois, brother David and step-brothers Stephen and Mark.
• A funeral will be held tomorrow at Osbornes Funeral Directors Chapel, 197 Old Taupo Rd, Rotorua from 2pm.