INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A second-grade teacher killed along with her husband in an explosion that ravaged an Indianapolis subdivision was so devoted to her students she had written out detailed lesson plans through Thanksgiving, the school's principal said.
Jennifer Longworth, who died Saturday night along with her 34-year-old husband, John "Dion" Longworth, was "a truly gifted educator" who was often entrusted with the school's most difficult students, said Southwest Elementary School Principal Beth Guilfoy.
The 36-year-old teacher didn't miss a day of school last year. Guilfoy said Longworth also had typed up such detailed notes on the children who were the subjects of upcoming parent teacher conferences that her principal said a substitute could easily conduct the meetings in her stead.
"Jennifer, she was 100 percent dedicated to that job," Guilfoy told The Indianapolis Star. "That was her thing, and she was really good at it."
The Longworths, who had been married 11 years, died when an explosion obliterated their home and one adjacent to it in a blast that damaged dozens of nearby residences.
The cause of that blast remained under investigation Tuesday as residents in the Richmond Hill subdivision continued cleaning up from the explosion or meeting with insurance agents assessing damage to their property.
Most of the details of Saturday's blast have been kept from students at Southwest Elementary School, where Jennifer Longworth had taught since 1999.
The school called parents Sunday and told them Longworth and her husband had been killed in an "accident," leaving it to families to decide what, if any, details to provide youngsters.
John Longsworth had worked at Indy Audio Labs, the small tech company in Indianapolis where his colleagues knew him as "Dion."
Rick Santiago, CEO and co-founder of Indy Audio Labs, said John Longworth was a brilliant guy who helped develop the electronics for high-end home theater systems.
Santiago said Longworth was a car lover and owned a yellow GTO he enjoyed talking about, but otherwise didn't speak a lot during work hours.
"He was slow to speak, and sometimes people took that as introverted," he said. "But he was the type of person who would pause and listen to what you had to say and pause to form a response. But when he responded it would be one that was much more in depth and thoughtful than most people."
The Longworths had no children. They had a golden retriever named Pepper, and WTHR-TV reported that the Longworths' dog has not been found in the ruins of their home. Relatives have been searching for Pepper, who has an implanted microchip.
John Longworth's sister, Brookley Longworth, told WISH-TV her brother was proud of the garden he had created in the couple's backyard.
"Anytime you would go to his house he would force you to look at his garden," she said.
John "Dion" Longworth's father, John Longworth, said his son was proud of his wife of 11 years, who would spend Saturday preparing lesson plans for the upcoming week.
He said that when the family visited her classroom Sunday night, they discovered a birthday card she made for her students.
"She was the kind of teacher you would want your child to have," John Longworth said. "She was so dedicated and cared about her kids."