Jackson Park Elementary in mourning after death of popular custodian

Jackson Park Elementary School Principal Shirley Kenmochi knew something was wrong early Monday morning when she arrived to school to find the lights of the school off and head custodian Ron Goss’s car not in its usual parking space.

A couple hours later Kenmochi heard the tragic news. Goss, a 25-year veteran of the Central Kitsap School District, died of a heart attack on his way to work in the early morning hours. Goss was driving in the 6100 block of Chico Way at about 5:50 a.m. when a heart attack caused the 68-year-old to drive off the roadway into a power pole. Reports state he died prior to the arrival of Sheriff’s and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue medic units. A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo.

A school mourns

Upon hearing the tragic news on Monday, Jackson Park staff gathered after school to discuss the impact Goss’s death would have on students. On Tuesday morning time was set aside for teachers to relay the news to students. Grief counselors were on-hand throughout the day as well as on Wednesday.

“Several of (the students) were very upset,” Kenmochi said. “Many of them made cards.”

She also sent home a letter to parents so they would have an idea of how their child might be feeling.

“It’s a real loss for our staff and students,” Kenmochi said. “If anyone needed to talk we had counselors.”

She describes Goss as someone the students could always talk to, who was always there for them.

“Ron made a point of greeting the kids, especially new students and we get a lot here, sometimes we’ll have three new students in one day,” Kenmochi said.

She recalled how he would always remind students to bring a jacket if they didn’t have it with them because he was worried they would catch a cold if they went outside without one.

“He was a wonderful man,” she said. “He was great with students and loved to work with them in the lunch room.”

He would often help students with their trays, she said.

Goss had plans to retire in April and looked forward to life after retirement, she added.

“We’re saddened by the fact that he didn’t have a chance to retire and

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