VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A family is saying goodbye to a beloved husband, father and grandfather who served as a longtime teacher and volunteer in Virginia Beach, helping shape many lives both in and out of the classroom.
Sunday, Marcos Christodonte Sr., 70, passed away. His son, Marcos Christondonte II told News 3 his father dedicated about 40 years to teaching children, including 27 years at schools across Virginia Beach.
“He's a helper of people,” Christodonte said. “Someone who recognized that in order to really shape the world, it starts with our youth.”
He said his father is also known for who he was outside the classroom at home with family, instilling values, while living on faith and positivity.
“He would just walk into the room and everybody would see him, and whatever you were thinking, it went out the door,” Christodonte Sr.’s niece, Amena Anderson, said. “His smile would just brighten up your day for sure.”
Along with teaching and faith, Christodonte said his father created a group in Wisconsin, holding Juneteenth events and helping disadvantaged young people.
“It was never about race or color. It was always about people and being positive,” he said. “Really getting those young kids, middle school kids, high school kids out of their particular environment, and into a place where they're focused on mindset.”
Christodonte created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses and his mother, Brenda.
“He prioritized his income on his living expenses and also his religious commitments,” Christodonte said. “Not necessarily looking at a pension or 401(k) as something he prioritized, so unfortunately, he didn't have those things to sort of fall back on for my mother.”
“One of the things that I told my father in his last days was I would take care of my mom,” Christodonte added. “That was one of the things he was worried about. His wife of 41 years, is she going to be taken care of?”
As of Tuesday night, the page has raised thousands of dollars.
Christodonte believes it's a testament to his father's impact.
“The fact that he's touched so many lives,” he said. “They remember the little things. The conversations, the words of encouragement.”
He'll continue reflecting on his father's legacy and live out lessons he learned from him for years to come.
“I think it's less about the day they were born, and the day they died, but more about that dash in the middle,” Christodonte said. “What have they done throughout their life to leave a lasting legacy.”
Christodonte Sr.’s service is set for this Friday.