The sudden death of a beloved San Luis Obispo High School math teacher over the weekend left students and staff mourning Monday.
David Melton, 46, who lived in Templeton with his wife, Susanne, and three young daughters, died of a heart attack while in Southern California with his family Friday.
Grief counselors were made available for support at both the high school and Laguna Middle School, where the youngest of Melton’s daughters is a student.
Melton taught algebra and Advanced Placement statistics at San Luis Obispo High School since 2000. Prior to teaching at the high school level, he was a math teacher and department chair at Los Osos Middle School for seven years.
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“Dave was really one of the nicest, gentlest and friendliest teachers we have,” said Will Jones, principal at San Luis Obispo High School. “He had a great rapport with students — the kind of man who made the classroom fun and provided a good education environment for the kids.”
Melton, who played the guitar and was well-known as a fan of the band U2, was remembered Saturday with a moment of silence at the school’s Spring Royale dance. A U2 song was also played in his memory. Melton was often one of the first teachers to volunteer to chaperone the dances, Jones said.
News of his death spread among students quickly over the weekend through Facebook and text messages.
Superintendent Eric Prater informed staff of his death and put the plans in place for grief support on school campuses by email Sunday.
“It is difficult to place such things into perspective — especially when a young and vibrant member of our team loses his life,” Prater wrote. “David was a very talented, respected and beloved teacher among his peers and students. It is difficult to accept that he is no longer with us.”
On Monday morning, teachers broke the news to those students who hadn’t yet heard of Melton’s passing.
“This is a hard day for all of us, but for the students it is a shock to suddenly lose their teacher,” Jones said. “This is a big loss. Everyone feels it in our community because we are all so close.”