Tammy Lynn Moote: 1972 - 2007


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Teacher of deaf children

With a hearing disability herself, she decided to help those struggling with the academic and social challenges that she had encountered while growing up

Diagnosed at a young age with no hearing in her right ear and only 50 percent in her left ear, Tammy Lynn Moote understood the academic and social obstacles facing children with hearing disabilities, relatives said.

Deciding to help deaf children struggling with the same issues she had faced, she moved in her 20s from Canada to Chicago. She earned a degree and taught in the Holy Trinity Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Children of Peace Catholic Grade School in Chicago.

Ms. Moote, 35, of La Grange Park, died Friday, Aug. 10, of injuries suffered in a car accident in Cloyne, Ontario, while visiting her family at her childhood vacation home. The eldest of three daughters, Ms. Moote was raised in Fonthill, Ontario, where relatives said she enjoyed a typical childhood, taking dance lessons for many years and participating in sports.

"Tammy's been wearing a hearing aid since she was 4, but her hearing has always been very limited," said her father, Larry. "She went to school and attended all the same classes as all the other kids, but with very few services available to her. She excelled academically, but socially it was hard on her."

As a young adult who wanted to help deaf children, she moved to the Chicago area and took courses at Harper College in Palatine. She later earned a bachelor's degree in deaf education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Ms. Moote helped pay her tuition by working part time as a cashier at Wal-Mart. She was president of a club for deaf students at the university.

"The word 'quit' just wasn't in Tammy's vocabulary," her father said. "She was always one of those people who fought for her rights and didn't let anything get in her way of learning."

In 2002, Ms. Moote joined the staff at Children of Peace School.

"If you could have a model teacher, Tammy was it," said Arlene Redmond, the school's principal. "The kids just loved her. She was creative and enthusiastic. She did so many fun activities with her students, which were very hands-on and interactive."

One of Ms. Moote's most popular activities was her 100th Day of School Celebration, in which she baked cupcakes for her students and organized crafts and games.

"She was an amazing teacher and a wonderful friend," said fellow teacher Katie Boone. "She worked very hard to make learning fun for her students, but yet always made it look so easy."

Other survivors include her mother, Marilyn; two sisters, Cindy Duncan and Jodi Wilton; a grandmother, Christina; and several nephews and nieces.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church Deaf Center, 8025 W. Addison St., Chicago.