A beloved Massachusetts teacher will be remembered on Friday after passing away from complications from influenza.
Funeral services for 68-year-old Phyllis Gotlib will be held at Temple Sinai in Marblehead, followed by interment at Sharon Memorial Park.
Gotlib, a music teacher at Clarke and Hadley Elementary Schools in Swampscott, passed away suddenly on Jan. 17 surrounded by her loved ones after falling ill over the past weekend. School officials said she had taught in the school system since 1999.
For those who knew her, the news of her death is difficult to comprehend.
"If it happened to her and she was as active as she was every single day of her life, then people need to realize that we’re dealing with something that is morphing into something that I don’t think even the CDC has projected," said neighbor and friend Laurie Casale.
School officials closed both Clarke and Hadley, as well as a third Swampscott school Thursday and Friday to thoroughly clean them. It was also so staff could attend services for Gotlib.
In a statement, Gotlib's family said they were "shocked and saddened" by her sudden passing.
"Phyllis was a wonderful person loved by everyone," they said. "She brought music into the lives of so many children in Swampscott and Marblehead."
Gotlib's death is the second reported flu death in Massachusetts this year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said for the week ending Jan. 6, widespread influenza activity was reported by 49 states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.