Conway substitute teacher of the year passes away from COVID-19

Local News

CONWAY, Ark.- A beloved, long-time substitute teacher for the Conway School District passed away this week from COVID-19.

The district says the loss of George Yarbrough, a.k.a. Mr. Ron, left a huge hole in the community.

“He was just someone with a magnetic personality,” said Heather Kendrick, Conway Public School.
“He is the best sub in the world,” said Luci, Kindergartener.

“He just had a way of making anyone he talked to feel like a million bucks,” said Lindsey Jones, Teacher/Friend.

The cherished, loved teacher will be missed by many.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas just won’t be the same without him this year,” said Jones.

Lindsey Jones met Mr. Ron 11 years ago and he quickly became part of the family.”He was subbing in my daughters’ class and at circle time she invited him to come to thanksgiving at our house and he came,” said Jones.

Jones said Mr. Ron was fighting COVID-19 and double pneumonia for the last couple weeks but ultimately lost that fight on Tuesday.

A year ago, we sat down with Mr. Ron when he won Arkansas substitute teacher of the year.  A title that was earned from almost two decades of hard work.

During our interview, Mr. Ron said, “I’d rather be in the classroom with kids like this, than be anywhere in the planet.”

“As a teacher he was the sub you wanted, you knew the kids were going to be taken care of, you know no one was going to go unnoticed for the day when you were gone and you knew what you left for the day was going to get accomplished and more,” said Jones.

Jones said you just didn’t worry about your class when Mr. Ron took over.

Heather Kendrick with the Conway School District said there will never be a substitute for Mr. Ron.

“At our schools people are still on a daily basis missing him thinking they are going to see him any minute,” said Heather Kendrick, Conway School District.

“A lot of people say you don’t get to choose your family, but my family chose Mr. Ron and he will always be part of us,” said Jones.

Several teachers and family members are getting together this weekend to have a celebration of life gathering for Mr. Ron.

Others have taken to social media to share their memories.

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