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Article updated: 5/8/2013 6:58 PM

Beloved Larkin High School teacher dies at 56

By Tara García Mathewson

A Larkin High School nursing teacher, around whom hundreds rallied as she struggled to recover from multiple strokes and fight a rare form of cancer, died Tuesday at age 56.

Deborah Daly, of Bartlett, started teaching at Larkin High School in 2002 and went on to sponsor the Health Occupations Students of America, where she helped numerous students on a path toward careers in the health fields.

Natalie Judkins, a former student of Daly's who is now studying at Elgin Community College, said her teacher helped her figure out what she wanted to do with her life.

"She inspired so many kids," Judkins said. "She not only taught us things you need to know from the textbook but things that will always be with us throughout the years."

Judkins worked with a group of students to organize a fundraiser in February that raised more than $10,000 to help defray Daly's medical costs.

Daly also was one of three beneficiaries of a fundraiser Saturday at Larkin High School called Connie-A-Thon. The annual event raises money for people in the school community fighting life-threatening illnesses.

Daly worked at Westlake Hospital, Children's Memorial Hospital, Hoffman Estates Medical Center and Provena St. Joseph Hospital during her career. She also started her own home health care agency and costume company.

Visitation will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday until the funeral service at 8 p.m. at the Countryside Funeral Home and Crematory, 950 S. Bartlett Road in Bartlett, after which Daly's body will be cremated.

In lieu of flowers, the family is encouraging donations to the Deborah Daly Memorial Scholarship Fund through BMO Harris Bank, 335 S. Main St., Bartlett.

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