A teacher who worked two jobs to help pay medical expenses for her terminally ill husband is being hailed as a hero after she was gunned down in Friday’s massacre at a Houston-area high school.
Cynthia Tisdale, 63, who was one of 10 people slaughtered on Friday at Santa Fe High School, had her body identified by her son, who is a detective with a local law enforcement agency.
‘(Cynthia Tisdale) worked at the school not out of necessity but for the love of teaching and helping others,’ her son, Recie Tisdale of the League City Police Department, told WFAA-TV.
‘To know my mom was to know a person who lived to help those in need. We all loved our mother very much.’
Cynthia Tisdale, 63, who was one of 10 people slaughtered on Friday at Santa Fe High School, had her body identified by her son, who is a detective with a local law enforcement agency
Tisdale, a teacher who worked two jobs to help pay medical expenses for her terminally ill husband, is being hailed as a hero after she was gunned down in Friday’s massacre at Santa Fe High School (seen above on Friday)
William Recie Tisdale, 67, seen right, is suffering from an incurable lung disease. He is seen with his wife in this undated file photo
The suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school, is being held without bail
Recie Tisdale said his daughter was supposed to arrive at Santa Fe High School, which is just 10 minutes away from her home.
When initial reports said that two of those killed were teachers, Recie Tisdale said he knew his mother was one of the fatalities since his father was unable to reach her.
‘Once the scene was somewhat secure I was contacted by my father who could not get reach my mom,’ Recie said.
‘I knew that two female teachers had been killed along with several students.
‘Not long thereafter I determined that one of the teachers was probably my mother.
‘It was very hard to go from assisting others to being horribly affected by this tragic event.
‘There are no words to explain how saddened my entire family is for all those involved.
‘Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected.’
The suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, a student at the school, is being held without bail.
Friends and relatives described Cynthia Tisdale as a kind, caring person. She is survived by her husband, their four children, and eight grandchildren
John Tisdale, 68, said he learned about Cynthia Tisdale’s death from his nephew and her son, William Recie Tisdale, Jr, at around 5:00pm on Friday
Cynthia Tisdale was planning to relocate to Rio Grande Valley with her husband for retirement. She is seen above with her daughter, Autumn, in this old file photo
Friends and relatives described Cynthia Tisdale as a kind, caring person.
She is survived by her husband, William Recie Tisdale, 67; their four children; and eight grandchildren.
‘Cynthia is a very kindhearted person,’ her brother-in-law, John Tisdale, told The Monitor.
‘She was looking forward to retiring and just being a fulltime granny or grandmother.
‘She was really attached and close to her children and grandchildren, and that was really her life and joy.’
John Tisdale, 68, said he learned about Cynthia Tisdale’s death from his nephew and her son, William Recie Tisdale, Jr, at around 5:00pm on Friday.
A number of relatives were trying to reach her after they learned of the shooting at the high school.
‘All during the day we were concerned,’ John Tisdale (seen right with his wife, Pamela) said. ‘I was trying to get reports on whether she had been located or not.’
On Facebook, John Tisdale posted a message from his niece, Autumn Tisdale, who mourned her mother. The message was attached to a screen shot of a phone call from a mother with a message not to take those conversations for granted
They also listened to news reports hoping that her name was not mentioned among the victims.
‘All during the day we were concerned,’ John Tisdale said.
‘I was trying to get reports on whether she had been located or not.
‘You got faith that they’ll find her somewhere, and that perhaps she was one of the ones who was wounded and taken to local hospitals, but when it’s evident it could be her you’re just living on hope.
‘Then it became apparent that she was one of the two teachers that had died.’
Cynthia Tisdale was planning to relocate to Rio Grande Valley with her husband for retirement.
Her husband is afflicted with an incurable lung disease, according to his brother, John Tisdale.
‘Since my brother has been very ill the last couple of years, she was a very excellent caregiver and she worked two jobs for extra income to help,’ John Tisdale said.
‘She worked at the school and a second job as a server at night at an Italian restaurant chain.’
Cynthia Tisdale is seen above teaching at Santa Fe High School in this undated file photo
She is seen far right with her husband, children, and grandchildren
On Facebook, John Tisdale posted a message from his niece, Autumn Tisdale, who mourned her mother.
The message was attached to a screen shot of a phone call from a mother with a message not to take those conversations for granted.
‘I’m not one of many words but my mom always was! My mom Cynthia Tisdale posted this and I thought thank goodness that’s not me,’ the post read.
‘I won’t feel that for many more years. I am at a loss for words all I want to do is get that phone call where she chews me out for being at the softball Fields all day and night long, working out in the heat and not taking enough drinks, or for not being able to get the stains out of my kids clothes.
‘My favorite phone calls were when we just talked and she just went on and on and I just agreed with her as she talked.
‘I didn’t think she was my best friend but now I know I was wrong she was my best friend and now all the things I would need to tell her I can’t anymore.
‘All I want to do is give her a hug and kiss and tell her how much I love her again!
‘I love u so much Momma! The words I miss u don’t do justice to what I’m feeling!’
Cynthia Tisdale was also a churchgoing woman who is being mourned by fellow parishioners.
‘My stepmother, Cynthia Tisdale was the substitute teacher that was killed today in Santa Fe,’ her stepdaughter, Shannon McCoy, wrote on Facebook page of the First Baptist Church of McAllen.
‘We are on our way to Houston.
‘Please remember the family during this very difficult time. I know today didn’t catch God by surprise.
A GoFundMe page has been created by a friend to help the Tisdale family, which also lost their home during the Houston floods last year
‘He is still in control. I am praising Him on credit for the way He will be glorified through this senseless mess.’
Patricia Rosser, 35, of Pharr, Texas, is McCoy’s adopted sister.
She remembered Cynthia Tisdale as ‘a good mother, a good wife and a good person.’
Rosser said it was heartbreaking for Cynthia’s own son to have to identify her body.
‘The sad part of it is her son from my sister’s half-brother is affiliated with the local law enforcement there, and his daughter attended school at Santa Fe High School,’ Rosser said.
‘When they received reports at 8am, he immediately responded and dispatched to the reunification center they had there, and it wasn’t until 3pm that they were looking at bodies and discovered that one of the victims was indeed his mother. … It was just incredibly senseless. I don’t know what the motivations were or anything like that, but enough is enough.’
Leia Olinde said Tisdale, her aunt and a substitute teacher at the school, was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses last year.
‘She helped me put it on, she helped fix my hair,’ Olinde said through tears.
‘She was wonderful. She was just so loving,’ said Olinde, 25. ‘I’ve never met a woman who loved her family so much.’
Tisdale’s house was the center of family gatherings and she loved cooking Thanksgiving dinner and decorating her house, Olinde said.
Olinde’s fiance, Eric Sanders, said of Tisdale that ‘words don’t explain her lust for life and the joy she got from helping people.’