Hundreds remember beloved Fairfield teacher during prayer service and vigil

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:53 PM CST
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FAIRFIELD, Iowa (KCRG) - Hundreds gathered Tuesday evening to honor and remember the life of 66-year old Nohema Graber, a teacher at Fairfield High School.

Officials located the remains of Nohema Graber, 66, at Chautauqua Park in Fairfield on Wednesday. Graber, a Spanish teacher at Fairfield High School, was reported missing earlier in the day. Authorities say she was killed at the park by two teenage students.

Willard Noble Chaiden Miller, 16, and Jeremy Everett Goodale, 16, have been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. They are being charged as adults.

A public prayer service and vigil was held in the auditorium of Fairfield High School Tuesday. Family, friends, church members and students of Graber filled hundreds of seats, singing along to hymns and telling stories.

Christian Graber, one of Nohema Graber’s sons, read a passage from one of her notebooks at the service. “My plan is very simple, and I think very powerful. My plan is to smile all the time. The reason is that I think that a smile is contagious,” read Graber. “And even if my students forget about my Spanish classes, I hope they remember how and why to smile to life, and to be honest.”

Nohema Graber, who was born in Mexico, taught at Fairfield High School for nine years. She spent another six years teaching Spanish in the Ottumwa School District.

Friends also created a GoFundMe to support the Graber family. The proceeds are expected to go toward supporting the family and paying for funeral costs.

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