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Bertrand's passing prompts fond memories

TRIBUTE TO ‘MISTER B.’: Warrensburg High School Students scrawled hundreds of heartfelt messages to their beloved coach and teacher, the late Brent Bertrand, filling up a 60-fee-long mural that stretched the length of the school cafeteria. Bertrand died early Tuesday of apparent natural causes.

TRIBUTE TO ‘MISTER B.’: Warrensburg High School Students scrawled hundreds of heartfelt messages to their beloved coach and teacher, the late Brent Bertrand, filling up a 60-fee-long mural that stretched the length of the school cafeteria. Bertrand died early Tuesday of apparent natural causes. Photo by Thom Randall.

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Brent Bertrand (front) watches a pitch during a Spring 2001 Warrensburg High School Varsity Softball game. He coached softball at the school for years, as well as serving as Technology instructor. Bertrand, 54, died Jan. 11, sending shock waves through the community. His wake is set for Friday Jan. 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Alexander-Baker Funeral Home on Main St. in Warrensburg. Behind Bertrand are Assistant Coach Brian Lemery and student Samantha Morehouse.

— While the Alexander-Baker Funeral Home was preparing for calling hours for local teacher Brent Bertrand who died unexpectedly Tuesday, grieving students at Warrensburg High School continued to be consoled Thursday by school counselors, social workers and faculty members, school officials said.

“Those students who were in shock Tuesday and Wednesday now continue to grieve,” Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson said. “This has been a tragic loss to the whole community.”

Bertrand, 54, was a Technology instructor as well as a softball coach at the school — well-loved and respected by both his peers and the students.

Bertrand died of apparent natural causes early Tuesday morning at his home.

Friends may call on the Bertrand family from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13 at the Alexander-Baker Funeral Home, 3809 Main St., Warrensburg. A funeral service will be conducted privately at the convenience of the family.

As of Thursday, hundreds of heartfelt tributes were scrawled on a 60-feet-long mural titled “Messages to Mr. Bertrand” that stretched the length of the school’s cafeteria wall.

Bertrand, or “Mister B,” was known particularly for his ability to inspire students through his ever-present enthusiasm, sunny attitude and helpful spirit — and the messages on the mural reflected these themes. Here is a sampling of some of the messages:

• “You were an amazing teacher — you made every student feel like they were important...”

•“You moved every heart and touched every soul — I’m heartbroken not just for the loss of your upbeat smile and friendly waves in the halls, but for the students yet to come who will never have the pleasure of knowing you...”

• “You looked past all of my flaws and actually saw me as a person...”

• “There hasn’t been one day I’ve seen you without a smile on your face...”

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