Central Elementary School teacher Ray Alcala has died, after complications arose in his fight against MDS, Banning-Beaumont Patch has learned.
Alcala, who taught kindergarten at Central for five years but had to leave early last March for a bone marrow transplant, died Monday night at City of Hope hospital in Los Angeles, according to Central Elementary Principal Ed Young.
“The school community was still very involved in supporting him and his family,” Young said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “We’re really going to miss him.”
Young said Alcala had gotten pneumonia on Thursday or Friday and “had more complications over the week.”
Alcala—fondly known by students as “Mr. A.”— was married to Sayra Alcala and had three children who all attend school in Banning: Celeste, 6, Ismael, 13, and Raymundo, 14. They attend Central Elementary, Nicolet Middle and Banning High. (Ages were last updated as of March)
Banning-Beaumont Patch spoke with Alcala in March, prior to his bone marrow transplant.
“Some days I do feel tired, but other days I do feel full of energy,” he said. “Going to work helps a lot. Might sound cliché, but I need to be around my kiddies (students). They give me the energy and the will to fight this disease."
Principal Young said Alcala absolutely planned on heading back to the classroom, once he was cleared by his doctor—which everyone had hoped would be around Christmas time.
“His desire was absolutely to come back… he loved teaching; he was an excellent teacher,” Young said. “His plan was to come back as soon as he was healthy enough.”
Funeral arrangements were pending as of Tuesday morning, but check back with Banning-Beaumont Patch for details as they become available.
Young said the school psychologist has been informed of Alcala's passing, to help children with any needed grief counseling. Students were not at campus Tuesday, as it was a teacher furlough day.