Friends and coworkers attending Saturday's funeral for Jill Kari Stoll will be wearing silver bracelets she made for them in memory of Stoll, a gifted art teacher who was passionate about bringing out the best in her students.
Stoll, the daughter of former University of Minnesota head football coach Cal Stoll, was a talented seamstress who made bracelets and designed many of the outfits she wore to work as an art teacher in the Wayzata public schools, where she shared her affection for and vast knowledge of art for more than 30 years.
"She was a jewel," said Jane Sigford, curriculum director for District 284.
Stoll died of cancer April 9 at her home in Golden Valley. She was 58.
She was known as the "Art on a Cart" teacher when she started in Wayzata in 1976. She went from room to room and school to school to deliver lessons on painting, drawing and other aspects of the discipline to students at Sunset Hill, Beacon Heights and Oakwood elementary schools. In the 1990s, she taught at Plymouth Creek Elementary and Wayzata East Middle School before finishing her career at Wayzata High School. She last taught in 2008, and had been on medical leave for the past two school years.
In the classroom, Stoll strived to make all students be the best they could be. "They were her life," said Cindy Behrens, fine arts secretary at Wayzata High School.
"Ms. Stoll pushed me daily, never letting me fall into a realm of comfort. For that I am forever grateful," said former student Rachael Anderson. "Not until I became an art teacher myself did I realize her true dedication and commitment to her students' success."
Outside the classroom, Stoll was continually expanding her horizons by taking classes and exploring her interests in oil and watercolors, clay, sculpture, photography and pastels, said Sue Gregor, who once shared a classroom with her.
"Jill really epitomized what all educators should be," she said. "She was committed to every aspect of the profession, doing the best for kids and always reaching out to give them the help they needed to succeed."
Her colleagues recently nominated her for the Wayzata Education Association Career Teacher Award for the 2009-10 school year, saying, "Jill has been an inspiration to all of us as well as the students who have had the privilege of working with her. Her generous spirit, attitude, and work ethic have helped build the foundation for our district's highly regarded art program."
Stoll often wrote recommendations for students looking to go to art school and entered their work in competitions. She also enjoyed going to her students' plays, concerts and athletic events, said her brother, Mark, of Deephaven.
Born in Utah, she graduated from high school in Okemos, Mich. She graduated from the University of Minnesota and did postgraduate work at St. Mary's University of Winona, Minn., and Hamline University in St. Paul.
Her hobbies included camping and traveling to state parks to paint flower gardens, waterfalls and other nature scenes.
In addition to her brother, Stoll is survived by her mother, June, of Golden Valley, and three nieces.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel, 5000 W. 50th St., Edina.