‘The kids loved him’: Coworkers, students remember beloved East Valley teacher

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A beloved East Valley School District teacher is being remembered.

Tony Bevacqua died on Monday as he battled an aggressive cancerous brain tumor.

Bevacqua worked at East Valley Middle School as a P.E. teacher and coach.

“It’s pretty devastating because we do know what he provided for us as an East Valley family,” said Ryan Blewett, a teacher at the middle school.

Bevacqua was diagnosed with the tumor in December and had taken time away from work before his passing.

“There are various students that I have talked to — there have been a lot of tears this week,” Blewett said.

Tears and memories for the teacher that dedicated 30 years of his life to his students.

“The kids loved him. He related to every kid,” Blewett said.

Family, coworkers, students past and present held a candlelight vigil on Thursday night, remembering all the times they had with Mr. B. Between his morning routine of eating Cup O’ Noodle on a hallway bench to his notorious pranks.

Whether it was gluing things to a coworker’s desk or shutting off the lights while you were in the bathroom, friends said he loved you if he teased you a little bit.

“You might find the bathroom door blocked with as many empty boxes as Mr. B could stack up in the hallway,” said Matthew Orndorff, the middle school’s principal. “He was never around to see your reaction, but he might ask later, ‘did you have any problems getting out of the bathroom?'”

He was not only known for his playful personality but his heart as well.

“Tony loved everybody. He loved all of his students. He believed in each and every one of you,” his wife Tami said.

Those remembering him said he made the most out of every moment.

“His life was one of lasting influence and we’re all better for having known him,” Orndorff said.

While he may be gone, he did leave something behind.

“Mr. B. taught us all how important it is to find and to make the most out of the little things that make us happy,” Orndorff said.

Little things — like sitting on a bench, eating Cup O’ Noodle, and saying ‘hi’ to everyone who walked by.

“He’s just a gem of a guy. The biggest heart you’ll ever find in a human being,” Blewett said. “I don’t know if he can be replaced.”