A school in San Diego’s seaside community of La Jolla is mourning the unexpected death of a beloved English teacher, school officials confirmed.
In a letter sent to parents on Wednesday, Amieclaire Roche – Head of The Bishop’s School on La Jolla Boulevard – announced the sudden death of longtime English teacher Robert Mulgrew, 59.
Roche said Mulgrew died Tuesday while on vacation on the East Coast with his family.
Colleague Gary Hendrickson, also an English teacher, said Mulgrew was "beloved by everyone at the school" and also coached the girls' basketball team.
"He was as comfortable in the English office talking about Virgil and Dante as he was in the athletic office talking about Steve Kerr," said Hendrickson, who worked with Mulgrew for the past eight years.
NBC 7 reached out to the school Thursday and Suzanne Weiner, director of marketing and public relations for the school, said Mulgrew died in some sort of accident but noted, “at this time, the circumstances of Mr. Mulgrew’s death aren’t known.”
NBC 7 spoke with Mulgrew's niece, Allison Klein, via email who said Mulgrew was involved in a swimming accident while on vacation in Lake George. He died in Bolton Landing, New York.
Weiner said Mulgrew, who was also the chair of the English department at The Bishop’s School, had worked at there since 2003.
“The school community is saddened by Robert's passing and we are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers,” Weiner added.
In her letter to parents, Roche also echoed that the news of Mulgrew’s death “saddens anyone who had the privilege of working with Robert, having him as a teacher, or knowing him and his wife, Francesca Gallozzi.”
"He was one of those individuals who was able to walk into any space and invite others to be who they are," Hendrickson said. "You could be around him only a few minutes and be made better by him."
Hendrickson said he adored his two children.
Roche said the couple has two children – Duncan and Sophie – both of whom are current students at The Bishop’s School, part of the class of 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The Head of School continued:
“Robert's gifts to the Bishop's community were countless: his vibrant and skillful teaching, his care for advisees, his affection for coaching, his sound counsel to colleagues on all aspects of education and his commitment to Bishop's each and every day of his years with us.”
According to the school’s website, Mulgrew was also Head Coach of the girls' junior varsity 2016-2017 basketball team. His daughter, Sophie, is listed as a player of the team's roster.
Roche’s letter said the teacher’s family is still making arrangements for his memorial, and asked for privacy for his wife and children. No further details were released.
Meanwhile, in a separate note to Bishop’s community, Roche said Mulgrew’s family has created a tribute page on Facebook dedicated to their loved one.
“A person who touched everyone he met in immeasurable ways. We love you and we miss you always,” the Facebook page notes, of Mulgrew.
The Facebook page includes many photos of Mulgrew with his family and friends. There, people are invited to leave message of support and love for Mulgrew’s family.
NBC 7 spoke with one of Mulgrew's colleagues and a student Friday, both of whom said Mulgrew was an unforgettable, dynamic educator. Mulgrew's colleague said Mulgrew loved his children very much. The student said he saddened that his younger brother, also a student at The Bishop's School, won't be able to have Mulgrew as his teacher.
"My favorite thing with Mr. Mulgrew was he was a big finger-pointer," said student Sahil Sheth, a recent graduate who demostrated Mulgrew's finger-pointing for NBC7. "We use to call it like an athletic finger-pointing. Someone would make a point, and he'd get excited and say 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' You could just tell he was just as excited about the point as the student was."
The Bishop’s School – a coeducational, college preparatory independent day school affiliated with the Episcopal Church – serves 800 students in grades six through 12 who live throughout San Diego County. It was founded in 1909.