Warren Tisdale dedicated his life to education in Great Falls.
After graduating from South Carolina State University, he went straight to Great Falls Middle where he taught eighth-grade science for nearly 40 years. He coached football and basketball and traveled the state as a referee for the South Carolina High School League.
Tisdale left a lifelong impression on countless students across more than one generation.
"I loved Mr. Tisdale," said Jordan Broome, a former student now attending USC-Lancaster. "He was awesome."
"It's hard to run into someone in the community who didn't know Mr. Tisdale," his son Jarman said.
After school on Friday, Warren Tisdale collapsed from a heart attack. He died at Springs Memorial Hospital. He was 59.
Within hours former students were posting memorials on Facebook.
"Warren was one of my favorite colleagues," a post read. "My son said he learned more science from Mr. Tisdale than any science teacher after him."
Tisdale's passion for education resonated with his oldest son Justin, who now teaches science at Great Falls High.
"I can remember him bringing kids' science projects home," said Justin, who, as a child, helped his father grade papers. "He always showed that love of science."
Anyone who attended middle school in Great Falls in the last few decades was likely to sit in Mr. Tisdale's class, including his sons.
"I always looked at him as a dad, but when I walked into the class, he was a teacher and I was a student," Jarman, 24, said.
In their father's class, Justin, Jarman and hundreds of others learned about more than science.
"He wanted kids to learn, but he also thought it was important to be good and decent people," Jarman said. "He taught that being able to contribute to society would carry you so much farther in life than just knowing the difference between sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks."
"He was just an extraordinary man," said Anne Collins, who taught drama and history alongside Tisdale for 18 years. "His character really showed through. He cared. He truly cared."
"He knew his stuff. But he also knew how to teach. His belief was you learned for the love of learning."
Students were fond of him, Collins said.
She recalled a course he started called "wheels." It was an extra course students took during the day and included the study of bicycles, motorcycles and driving - "anything with wheels."
"It was one of the most popular courses," she said.
During his career, Tisdale was offered jobs at other schools, Jarman said. But he remained at Great Falls.
"That was pretty much all he knew," Jarman said. "He liked the people in Great Falls. He liked the small class sizes."
Even after retiring, he continued to teach through the state's working retiree program. In the last two years, district-wide budget cuts forced him to work part-time and eventually fully retire.
"He may have retired on paper," Chester County schools Superintendent Thomas Graves said. "But he never really retired."
At the start of this school year, he found a way back as a substitute at the middle and high school.
"He still loved the classroom," Justin said. When they saw him "the kids lit up. They said 'Your dad's back.'"