Family & Friends Remember A Mother & Her Son

By: Heather Haley Email
By: Heather Haley Email

People in one eastern Kentucky county are remembering a teacher and student who died in a house fire.

The visitation for Carolyn Short Napier and her son Jesse Napier went on in Breathitt County.

Many who knew them say they leave behind a void that can never be filled.

To some it's an empty chair, but for the students and staff at Sebastian Middle School in Breathitt County it's where 14-year-old Jesse Napier sat everyday.

“You knew he was around and you also knew he was going to bring good things when he was around the other kids,” Tim Bobrowski said.

Jesse and his mother Carolyn Short Napier died in their home in Jackson Friday morning.

Carolyn leaves behind 2 other sons, 1 of which escaped the fire by jumping out of a window.

Officials with the Breathitt County School System say they not only lost a student with Jesse ... But a teacher with Carolyn.

“She was well received by her students, she was the type of lady that couldn't do enough, she just went beyond what a normal teacher would do,” Superintendent Arch Turner said.

Other teachers say Carolyn instilled that same effort in her son.

Mary Combs taught Jesse in Language Arts the last 2 years, but she says she's known him a lot longer, “Their mother, Carolyn and I grew up together. We've been friends for a long time and I've known them since they were babies.”

Combs says Carolyn was an angel to the entire community and says she sometimes finds herself outside of the home that took their lives.

“I go to sit for like 45 minutes and think why, why couldn't they get out,” Combs said.

Combs says Jesse was a talented musician and played Trombone in the school band.

She says he recently made the National Honor Society, but the letter to notify his family did not make it before the fire.

The funeral for both mother and son is at two Tuesday afternoon at the Breathitt Coliseum.

The Breathitt County School System will dismiss at noon so everyone can attend the funeral.

The chief of the Jackson Fire Department says the state fire marshal's office determined the fire started in the electrical wiring.


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