Students remember murdered teacher as 'wonderful lady'

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Students were shocked to find out their teacher was murdered.

Sue Cunningham's smile glowed just like the candles that burned in her honor at a vigil Wednesday night. It was held at Plainfield North High School where she taught physical education and health.

For students and staff, it was a day of incredible sadness, but being together helped.

“It was probably one of the most touching things just because of how Plainfield North got together, and like we all coped together and talked about it, it was good reflection,” said senior Mikayla Shaffern.

Police found Cunningham stabbed to death in her home in an upstairs bedroom shortly after 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Police say she and her husband, Craig, had been having marital problems.

A short time later, Craig stepped in front of a truck on I-55 near the Route 126 exit and was killed, in what police are calling a suicide.

School counselors met with students and staff all day Wednesday

“She was loved, she was well respected, by all the students that had her. The faculty we had, almost as many staff members in crisis today as students just because she was such a wonderful person. She cared about people and when that happens, they care back,” said principal Ray Epperson.

Students recalled a teacher who was a friend to many.

“Always smiling, she was always smiling, she always tried to make the best out of every situation, she was never in a bad mood. I don't ever remember her having a bad day. She was a wonderful lady,” said junior Carie Malak.

Sue was active in her church and Wednesday night, her pastor tried to offer comfort to those at the vigil.

“I said there's a verse in scripture that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice that comes pretty naturally, we all know how to do that, we're also told to mourn with those who mourn and that's the part that we struggle with the most, and I said so tonight we're going to begin that process,” said Pastor John Ciesniewski.

Cunningham, who had remarried about a year ago, had two children of her own and three step-children. Police say they were all with relatives or friends at the time of the murder.