Principal Laurie Pascoe said Permann was only able to teach for a few weeks this year because of his illness.
“Last year’s class was hit pretty hard, and staff was really impacted by this,” she said.
Students have shown their love for Permann by placing posters they signed throughout the school and creating a memorial with his photo in a display case near the office.
Several staff members spoke about their memories of Permann this week as they prepared to take the display down.
“I think about Jesse in terms of that famous statement, ‘He probably didn’t know a stranger,’” said Nancy Schwarz, who also teaches at the school. “Everyone was his friend, everyone was so important to him, and he treated everyone with respect.”
Schwarz said parents also appreciated Permann.
“Parents said he made their children feel like they mattered,” she said. “He was always outside during recess playing ball or soccer, and he loved teaching.”
Concentrating on his return to teaching was what got Jesse through chemotherapy, she said.
“All he could think about was getting back to teaching.”
Permann was engaged to Rochelle Wilber before learning he had cancer; after his diagnosis, they decided to get married last March, Pascoe said.
“When they found out he had cancer they moved the wedding date up and went through this together,” she said. “She’s a CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) and most all of funds raised are going toward medical expenses.”
A fund to help defray medical and funeral costs has also been set up c/o Crippin Funeral Home, 802 E. Main St., Montrose CO 81401.
Permann’s death has been hard on his young bride, and the school has already held several fundraisers; most of the money raised will go to medical expenses, Pascoe said.
The most recent fundraiser was a “hat day” at school where students paid $1 to wear a hat all day, and raised $550 to help pay medical bills and expenses.
The school had previously held a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s, and this weekend will auction off gift baskets at a school dance.
According to his obituary, Permann was a member of Grace Community Church and loved to fish, play golf and go camping. A native of Minnesota, he played semi-professional football in college. He graduated from Moorehead College with a degree in elementary education.
In addition to his wife, of Montrose, Permann is survived by his parents, Michael Permann of New Mexico and Kelly Permann of Minnesota; three sisters, Anna and her husband Mike Mueller of Minnesota, Raechel Permann of North Carolina, and Sara Permann of Minnesota. He is also survived by his father and mother-in-law, Lee and Kathy Wilber of Montrose.
Permann will be missed by many, Pascoe said.
“He was passionate about the kids, and he loved what he was doing,” she said.