Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

March 1, 2020
by LTSblog

In memoriam – LTS alumnus Lee Huddleston

Lee Huddleston started LTS in June 2017 and graduated in August 2018. He tragically passed away in February 2020 in the Confederated State of Micronesia, where he had returned to teach English after earning his MA degree. According to sources listed at the end of this post, he suffered a heart attack after saving a child who was drowning.

Lee was much loved by his peers and teachers in our program. He spread good cheer and encouragement to everyone he met and worked with. His MA project, “Local Legend Literature as Content in English Language Classrooms: A Micronesian High School Context”, was a reflection of his deep care for the community he had worked with for 2 previous years in the Peace Corps; it was a sincere effort to supplement the English curricula for his students with indigenous and locally meaningful materials.

Below are memories and testimonies written by some of those who knew him while he was in LTS. If you would like to add your voice to the ones below, please write to Keli Yerian at

We will deeply miss you, Lee.

This video clip of Lee and Alina trying out the TPR teaching method in Spanish shows why he was such a special cohort member and teacher.

“Lee was a bright light everywhere he went. I will never forget the countless hours we spent together studying, hiking, sharing stories and ideas on teaching, and simply enjoying life. He genuinely cared about everyone that he met, even if only for a brief moment. I will miss you dearly- colleague, friend, adventurer, and hero.” — Alexis Busso

“I had the pleasure to stand next to Lee at commencement, and it was such a joyful experience. On that day, Lee was wearing his shapely ironed gown without a cap. When we were tossing our graduation caps, Lee was acting how to toss the air above his head. We laughed so hard. He was a guy who has magic to turning everything around him funny and amazing. Rest In Peace, Lee. It was so wonderful meeting you”.  — Yuxin Cheng

“The way that Lee gave his life for another has proven everything I came to believe about his character in the time I knew him”. — Sean Brennan

“I feel so glad to have a chance to work with him even just for a term. I feel so glad to meet him so I learned how to be a gentle person. Thank you Lee. You maybe didn’t notice, but you really brought a lot to this world”. — Elaine Sun

“Lee has been and always is a cheerful and warm-hearted friend, full of wonder, gentle and caring soul and humble and passionate human being. I am saddened by this loss and grateful for having crossed path with a loving and thoughtful Lee. He has lived his life to the fullest and with no regrets.” — Ngan Vu

“It was such a pleasure to have Lee as a student, he was always positive and engaged and really cared about his work and the way it would impact students. He was a clear mentor to his peers and always someone people looked up to, whether they needed help on something or were just having a bad day. I am grateful our paths crossed and will always remember Lee fondly”. — Julie Sykes

“Lee, you devoted your life to teaching. Your passion and love will always be my guiding star. Farewell good friend, and good teacher.” — Reagan Yu

“Dear Lee, Just the other day I was thinking to text you and ask you about your plan to visit Pakistan, and then the next day you shocked me with the news that you are no longer on this earth. Since then, my eyes are filled with tears, and I am living  in a flashback. I am rereading our chat again and again. Have I ever told you how amazing and selfless a human you were? You know you are the luckiest man because every single person you met in your life is mourning for you. I feel so honored to spend part of my life with you, learning from you, and getting to know you, and I am proud to call you my friend, Lee. I’ll miss you so much. (Let’s finish this with our fist bump)” — Amna Hassan

“Lee was always a very friendly and positive person to be around. He was a great person and a friend to all in the LTS and SLAT program”. — Paul Badger Nishide

“Although Lee and I were never close friends, it never mattered how deep the relationship was, he always took the time to listen, and his words were always chosen carefully, and delivered with thoughtfulness and kindness. I came to Lee for advice before taking an adventurous leap into the unknown, knowing he himself had already done so before. He gave me the reassurance and perspective I needed to take that step, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. In his own small way, he made a large impact on me, and I know he did the same for so many others. Truly a
shining example of a human being — the world will be far less rich without him.” — Dustin Robson

“My heart aches to hear this sad news.  I remember Lee passionately talked about his peace corps experience and life in Micronesia at the LTS party where 2017-2018 cohort and faculty members got together on the first weekend of the summer 2017. His kind and thoughtful gestures (and funny jokes) always lightened up our mood and busy days in grad school. Lee had a gentle, beautiful spirit. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and everyone who loved him.”   — Yumiko Omata

“Lee, you were sometimes a goofball in class, but always in a way that kept us laughing. You were willing and ready to participate in any LTS activities, such as the optional microteaching workshops, where you always shared plenty of energy for teaching. You were sincere and caring, and people followed your lead. I easily remember the first day I met you when you came to ask about the program. I’m glad you decided to join us. Thank you for what you have shared with us all while you were with us”. — Keli Yerian

“It was my pleasure to meet you in LTS program. You were always one of the classmates who showed your warm heart to people around you. Although you left us early, we will remember your sense of humor and kindness forever”. — Alina Chen

“Lee was a wonderful, kind presence at all times, and he made the cohort feel more like a family than anything else. His genuine desire to help everyone (but especially his students) is an inspiration that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life”. — Logan Matz

“Some of my favorite memories of Lee include: spending weekends at coffee shops during grad school, watching reality cooking shows in Kazakhstan to unwind after a long days work, going on epic hikes, watching his favorite football team- the Philadelphia Eagles- win the Super Bowl, and just so many times laughing together about all sorts of stuff.  Lee you were truly an exceptional person and friend. You put your heart into everything, especially when it came to helping others. When we would design lessons together, you would spend as long as it took to create activities the students would enjoy.. You were a rock of support for everyone during our time together in grad school and Kazakhstan. You had a delightful sense of humor and wit about you. You loved exploring new places and new cultural experiences. You constantly inspired me to be a better teacher and person. There are so many words to say, but for now Lee, your legacy will live on forever in all the lives you beautifully touched, including mine. Thank you for everything, dear friend.Here are some words inspired by you.


A teacher is a mentor
A teacher is an educator
A teacher is a guide

A teacher is an artist
A teacher is a performer
A teacher is a designer

A teacher loves adventure
A teacher loves learning
A teacher loves creating

A teacher helps others intellectually
A teacher helps others socially
A teacher helps others emotionally

A teacher cares deeply about their students
A teacher cares deeply about schools
A teacher cares deeply about the world

A teacher is a hero.

Lee you were all these things and more”

— Zach Patrick-Riley


News link:

Here are several past LTS blog posts including Lee

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