FISHER — A cross covered by a Bears jersey stands in memory  outside the classroom at Fisher High School where Christina Jamison taught for nearly a decade and a half.

One of Ms. Jamison’s students erected the cross following her unexpected death Monday, April 20, at age 38.

People who knew her called her “kind-hearted” and “an advocate for her students.”

That she was an avid Bears fan is borne out by the jersey on the cross. A teacher’s aide and friend of Ms. Jamison, Camille Emry, said Ms. Jamison and her students, some of whom rooted for other NFL teams, liked to kid each other about which team was best.

Ms. Jamison’s loss leaves a hole at Fisher High School. She had taught special education at the school for the last 13 years after teaching one year in the Prairie Central school district following her graduation from Illinois State University.

One of her students, Jesse Thomas, who erected the cross outside her classroom, said Ms. Jamison was “amazing.”

“She was always trying her best to push you to do what you didn’t think you could,” he said. “Even though you had a breaking point, she would push you to break through it and get your work done.”

Thomas, a sophomore, said Ms. Jamison was “a loving person. She got along with everybody.”

Her mother, Kathryn Jamison, who like her only child lived in Saybrook, said she loved teaching at Fisher.

Jamison at paranormal walk-through

Shown at a paranormal walk-through at the old Ford County jail, which is said to be haunted, are, from left, front row, Brianna Emry, Christina Jamison and her mother, Kathy; back row, Kasey Reeves, Camille, Jamie and Anthony Emry. Christina Jamison, a veteran special education teacher at Fisher, died unexpectedly April 20.

“She just said the people were excellent to work with,” Kathryn said. “It was a good atmosphere. She had a lot of good friends there.”

Two of those were Emry and the school’s ag teacher, Jennifer Banda. They liked many of the same things, including the same types of movies — Marvel Comics-type fantasy movies, Banda said.

And Ms. Jamison and Emry were co-founders of the Abnormal/Paranormal Squad in Fisher — a group that liked to investigate the supernatural.

“‘She liked supernatural investigations,” Kathryn Jamison said, and she convinced her mother to go on one at the old Ford County jail, where a convicted murder who was hung in the 1800s is said to haunt the place.

Emry and her husband accompanied Jamison to Ashmore Estates in Ashmore — once part of the Coles County Poor Farm — for a paranormal investigation.

“We met this awesome group, Paranormal Mysteries from Ohio,” Emry said.

They also experienced a number of unnerving events when they stayed the night at the Randolph County Asylum in Winchester, Ind. — “unexplainable” shadows, footsteps and voices.  

“The friendships we’ve made over the last 2 1/2 years is amazing,” since forming the paranormal group, Emry said.

Banda, who said she had known Ms. Jamison since Banda began teaching at Fisher four years ago, said in addition to the movies, they would go to the Saybrook Fourth of July celebration.

“We would go to her house and walk down to the celebration and get dinner or play games and chat before the fireworks started,” Banda said.

She said her friend “always cared about her students and the people around her. She was always kind to everybody.”

They had the love of art in common. Banda said she nearly majored in art before deciding to major in ag.

“We kind of shared that love of crafting and drawing and that sort of thing,” she said.

Kathryn Jamison said her daughter enjoyed art since she was a child.

“I think she was good,” she said. “We’ve got some of her stuff hanging at our house,” and she enjoyed drawing all the Disney characters and people such as her grandfather.

Ms. Jamison also enjoyed NASCAR, especially Jeff Gordon, fishing and boating.

Jesse Thomas with cross

Jesse Thomas, who was a student in Christina Jamison’s special education class at Fisher High School for two years, erected a cross covered by a Chicago Bears jersey outside her classroom. Ms. Jamison was an avid Chicago Bears fan.

The fishing bug, she got from her father.

The family would rent a boat while on vacation at Kentucky Lake.

“She was just loving. She was a good kid. I really could not complain,” Kathryn said.

Banda said she and fellow Fisher teacher Michelle Wagner were doing yoga and were on social media together when Principal Jon Kelly phoned to tell them of Ms. Jamison’s death.

“We were really shocked and surprised,” Banda said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Wagner said Ms. Jamison was one of her best friends at Fisher High School.

“When I started, she took me under her wing to help me be successful in my first year at Fisher,” Wagner said. “Our love for the TV show “Supernatural” and the Marvel movies quickly made us friends outside of school. I was new to the area, so it was great to have a friend like Christina. She was always kind to everyone she met, and loved the challenge of helping her students succeed in class.”

Wagner said Ms. Jamison co-taught physical science with her.

“It was the best part of my day,” she said. “It was so cool to see her interact with her students and help them succeed in class. She was always willing to help me modify material for students in other classes too. She will be missed so much by her students and the Fisher staff.”

Said Fisher Superintendent Barb Thompson: “The Fisher CUSD #1 family is saddened by the loss of our colleague and friend. She was a dedicated and loyal teacher who cared deeply for her students. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends. She will be missed.”

dhinton@rantoulpress.com