Denise Irving taught 5th grade at Kinnikinnick


Denise Irving

Denise Irving, 44, a fifth-grade teacher at Kinnikinnick Elementary School in Roscoe, IL, passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 24, 2022. She graduated from Maine West High School in 1996 and from Eastern Illinois University in 2000. She had been a teacher for 21 years.

Donations from a GoFundMe will go towards funeral expenses, bills and college funds for her two daughters, Kaylin and Stephine.

Denise was born in Chicago ("during the last century," as she wrote on the teacher's website she created), just like her parents and grandparents had been. When she was 8, her family relocated to Des Plaines. She met her husband there at Maine West High School in 1996, when they were both teenagers. At Eastern Illinois University, she majored in elementary education with a concentration in grades 5-8, and a minor in Spanish.

Denise's first teaching job was in 2001 in Berwyn, IL, developing reading and language arts skills in 7th and 8th grade students who were learning English. Then in 2003, she began ten years of teaching 6th grade reading and language arts and science at Westfield Middle School in Bloomingdale, IL.

Denise wrote that after moving to Roscoe in 2013, she spent "a few years to focus on my children and family while staying home or volunteering at a local wildlife rehab." She began her return to the classroom in 2015 as a paraprofessional at Kinnikinnick, sometimes as a substitute, finally becoming a full-time 5th grade teacher.

Denise said, "When I was 5, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Never ever did I change my mind or think I wanted to try something else." She estimated, "I take anywhere from 500-2,000 pictures a month easily." Her website displays some of her photographs. She also wrote, "Someday, I'd love to have my own wildlife rehabilitation facility and/or a farm." 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be be given to Hoo Haven Wildlife Rescue. A drop box for donations will be available at the memorial and the wake.

Her family will hold a wake on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 from 4-8 p.m. in Des Plaines, IL,  where she was raised, at G.L. Hills Funeral Home, 745 Graceland Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60016.

A memorial will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022 from 2 - 6 p.m. in Roscoe, IL, where she and her family has lived since 2013, at Kinnikinnick Elementary School5410 Pine Lane, Roscoe, IL 61073.  The school has limited parking on campus, so you may need to park at Main Street Square, on Williams Street across from the school to the north.

Both gatherings will be open to the public. The family invites guests to wear purple attire. (She wrote, "I love the color purple. A lot.") You may like to prepare a memory to bring and share with the family. Cards will be available at the wake and paper will be available at the memorial.

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