GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Two much-loved teachers who spent their lives dedicated to others and each other are being remembered after their deaths from COVID-19 with a mural.
Paul and Rosemary Blackwell both taught in Grand Prairie ISD. Their colleagues wanted to do something to honor their legacy.
An artist painted a mural of the couple on the corner of 17th and Small Street in Grand Prairie.
Paul Blackwell taught PE and coached 7th grade boys’ basketball at Fannin Middle School.
Rosemary Blackwell was a bilingual 2nd grade teacher at Travis World Language Academy where she worked for more than 20 years.
One of their sons said they were hospitalized with COVID-19 and died within hours of each other in December.
A group of teachers raised money for the mural as a way to recognize their impact on the community.
"Rosemary Blackwell was like a mother to all of us. She was very warm-hearted. She would always give us advice. She was always there for students, her staff. She is a big part of this community," said Jacob Servin, who organized the effort.
"It’s not just a wall. It’s not just a painting. He’s someone’s dad and I want to make sure I do my part and do the best I can," said Juan Valezquez, the art teacher who painted the mural.
Valezquez has done several other murals in Grand Prairie. He started painting full time about seven months ago after losing his job during the pandemic.
Although he did not know the couple personally, Valezquez said he can see how beloved they were.
He’s met many of their students, family and friends who have already come to visit the mural.