A popular artist and teacher from Montgomery County, Pa. died suddenly the morning after Christmas.
Todd Marrone, who taught art to thousands of students at Welsh Valley Middle School, died suddenly, according to a letter posted Thursday evening by Welsh Valley Middle school Principal Chris Hall.
“Mr. Marrone was on the staff at Welsh Valley for 16 years as an art teacher and gifted education teacher and was involved in many activities during his time here,” wrote Hall. “We will miss his brilliance, his sense of humor, his passion for education and his boundless creativity. He made a significant and lasting mark at Welsh Valley and positively impacted countless students, families and staff members. Todd was also an acclaimed artist and an active and engaged resident of the district, well known throughout the community and beyond.”
The school is going to supply grief counselors when students return to classes on Jan. 2.
“The loss of Mr. Marrone is sure to raise many emotions and questions, especially for our students,” said Hall. “The journey of loss will be one that we will navigate together as a community.”
The school will also hold grade-level conversations with students about Marrone’s death.
Marrone, 38, was known for his pop-culture based paintings, which he posted to his website.
In a 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer profile Marrone spoke about a project he gave his students in which they drew large self portraits using only pencils.
“Certainly you can tell a lot by the pose that they chose, and how hard they press, if they're willing to make really dark marks," Marrone told the paper. "We talked a lot about embracing their own style."
Marrone left behind a wife, a daughter and a son, according to the school.
His death happened on the same block where a large police presence responded Thursday morning.