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A Life Lived: Glenda Estep’s love for children motivated her to be a good teacher

By ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
It’s often been said that it takes a big heart to shape a little mind.
Glenda VanHuss Estep had a big heart, especially when it came to children. And, during her long career as an elementary school teacher, she helped shape a lot of little minds because of her love for teaching.
Glenda spent most of her teaching career at Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton as a third grade teacher. “Glenda was a very dedicated teacher and a ’fun’ teacher,” said Nancy Jane Thomas, a teaching buddy of Glenda’s.
“She loved her students and was always prepared. She wanted them to succeed,” said Thomas, who noted that Glenda rarely missed a day of school. “She drove from her home in Siam, up and down some steep hills and around steep curves in deep snows to often get to school during the winter months.”
Thomas noted that the Harold McCormick teachers were a close-knit group — like family. “We often got together for dinners or would go to the lake, and when we did, Glenda entertained us with Tom Glen stories. There were no dull moments with Glenda,” Nancy shared.
Tom Glen was Glenda’s son, and sadly, he passed before she did, leaving an empty space in her heart, which she never got over.
Glenda Estep died July 27 after a long illness. Her only sibling was a younger sister, Nancy Woodard of Greenwood, S.C. “Glenda was older than me, and when we were growing up always she looked out for me. She was one of the most unselfish people I know. She was never envious of anyone — always kind and generous to all, including stray dogs,” said Nancy.
In addition to teaching, Glenda loved her church, Siam Baptist. “She was very faithful to her church and as long as she was able to go, she did. She sang in the church choir. She enjoyed music and singing,” said Nancy.
“Growing up, Glenda was the active one. She taught me to ride a bicycle, to drive a car, and she was a good basketball player in her younger days. But, the one thing I remember about Glenda is that she always looked out for me,” said Nancy.
She recalls that when in elementary school, the two got caught in a thunderstorm while walking home from school. “She knew exactly what to do. We stopped at a house where we knew the family and asked if we could wait the storm out there. After the storm, we continued on home. I never worried because I knew she would take care of us,” said Nancy.
Glenda was the daughter of the late Cecil and Carma Ree McKernan VanHuss and was married to Hunter Estep, who preceded her in death.
She was a caregiver for her parents during their final years. In fact, her mother lived with her the last couple years of her life.
“The things that were important to Glenda were her family, teaching, and her church. She had so many good friends at Siam Baptist as well as teacher friends,” said Nancy.
“We had a wonderful childhood, good parents, a good home. Nancy’s life was made even more wonderful by the many children she taught and the friends she made at school,” Nancy further added.
It was these children that put a smile on Glenda Estep’s face and a sparkle in her eyes, and the want-to to drive over snow-covered roads in the winter to get to school.