Cache County Educator of 37 Years remembered for Teaching Life Lessons
A LIFE IS made up of day-to-day interactions with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and even strangers. Kelly Rindlisbacher of Providence was a husband, father, friend, and educator who chose to spend his days teaching Cache Valley’s children, serving others, and brightening the hearts of all he met with his quick smile and sense of humor.
On August 7, 2020, Mr. Rindlisbacher died from complications associated with COVID-19. His students and colleagues called him “Mr. R.,” and he was known for his contagious laugh, positive attitude, and ability to diffuse any tense situation and find solutions.
Since his passing, stories of how he went out of his way to help others have repeatedly been shared. To capture these stories, some of which his family had never heard, a Facebook page was created to collect them.
Jamie Mangum, Mr. Rindlisbacher’s daughter, said it’s been wonderful to learn more about how her dad touched countless lives and to see so many pictures. It’s clear Mr. R. made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people during his 37-year career with the Cache County School District (CCSD) as a teacher and administrator, and also in his civic and religious service.
“I was very surprised to learn how many times he would take time out of his busy workdays to visit people that were in need, or sick and suffering,” Jamie said. “Sometimes at the hospital, sometimes in their homes … from students, to faculty, to neighbors, he visited as many as he could. He genuinely cared for them and wanted to let them know he was there for whatever they needed and was cheering them on.”
Brendan Peck was one of those Mr. R. cheered on. Brendan was an elementary school student who was diagnosed with cancer. Kerry Peck, Brendan’s mother, said Mr. R. was the principal for her children and was “much loved” by their entire family. They realized just how much Mr. R. loved them when he visited Brendan at the Huntsman Cancer Institute multiple times to encourage him.
“He came to visit Brendan again the day before Brendan passed away and brought him a wonderful picture of the Logan temple with a rainbow over it,” Kerry said. “I hope those two are enjoying time together once again!”
Other friends and colleagues have shared how Mr. R. visited during times of heartache and shared gifts of hope. He was an avid photographer and bird watcher who was continually learning and sharing his knowledge. He was a gifted teacher and loved to make his students laugh.
Stacie Williamson, principal at Canyon Elementary School, witnessed Mr. R.’s talents over many years. She says he was her “silly, fun, singing computer teacher at Spring Creek many moons ago,” and then she was his daughter Jamie’s teacher at Providence Elementary. Stacie moved to teach at Canyon Elementary and was mentored by Mr. R. until she became principal there.
“I will always, always be grateful to this man who taught me everything he knew about being a perfect principal and yet, allowed me the opportunity to grow and hone my own unique leadership skills at the same time,” Stacie said. “He was the perfect role model of an educational leader.”
Stacie says Mr. R. believed teachers had a pivotal place in each child’s life and “always reminded us to hold a humble respect for how much influence we have.” Many parents and students recall how going to Mr. R.’s office wasn’t scary. Somehow, he handled difficult situations with calmness and ended up showing students and visitors his various collections or bird portraits.
His daughter Jamie said, “He brightened any room he walked in and every time you left his presence you continued to feel uplifted and loved.”
Mr. R. loved his wife Lori and family dearly. He and Lori were married in 1985 and built a beautiful life of service and faith together. They have three children and three grandchildren. Jamie says his grandchildren were “his best friends and pride and joy.”
Mr. R. gained his passion for education from his father, Dale Rindlisbacher, while growing up in Amalga. Dale was
also a teacher and administrator. To honor these influential educators, a scholarship has been established at Utah
State University. Donations can be made to the Rindlisbacher Legacy Education Scholarship at Utah State University at usu.edu/advancement/rindlisbacher.
In all of his days, Mr. R. taught the most important lessons for the rest of our days: Never let an opportunity pass to lift a burden, share a smile, or love another.