Beloved Duval County music teacher, band director dies at 57 after COVID-19 complications

Colleagues remember educator as ‘always so positive, always so happy’

Beloved Duval County music teacher, band director dies at 57 after COVID-19 complications
Beloved Duval County music teacher, band director dies at 57 after COVID-19 complications

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County music teacher Levis Dasher died May 23 at Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville after a weeks-long battle with COVID-19-related complications.

The 57-year-old educator taught music and directed the band at Westview K-8 in the Duval County Public Schools district.

“He was just a staple here at our school,” Dasher’s colleague Brittiany Smalls said. “You just have no idea how much of a loss it is to not have somebody that was so important, so valuable.”

Carol Dasher, Levis’ widow, told News4Jax that he had been admitted to the hospital in early April with COVID-19-related respiratory symptoms and that he had been in the hospital for 55 days before his passing.

“He loved life,” Carol Dasher said of her late husband. “We met on his birthday and so he would always tell people that I was the best birthday gift he ever received.”

Levis and Carol Dasher (COURTESY: Carol Dasher)

Dasher added that the outpouring of community support from the school, their church and friends has been overwhelmingly appreciated.

“It seemed like every other day, I would go to the mailbox and there would be a card from them, continual text messages, and just lots of encouragement from our church family at Westside Baptist and at the school, Westview,” Dasher said. “Even before he was admitted to the hospital, we had a lot of people checking on us because we both ended up being in the hospital at the same time.”

Dasher’s son, Jonathan, graduated from Paxon School for Advanced Studies the day after his father died.

Colleagues at Westview K-8 school said such a dedicated teacher will not soon be replaced.

“He was a wonderful worker and to lose such a one, we lose gold,” Westview K-8 paraprofessional Sharon Mighty said. “I thank God that I got to know him and work with him for so many years.”

Dasher, along with his wife, was very active in the Westside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, assisting in the church’s children’s ministry, working events and even umpiring baseball games.

DCPS music teacher Levis Dasher plays the trombone (COURTESY: Carol Dasher)

“He was also active in the music ministry as a member of the orchestra, where he played the trombone -- sometimes he directed the orchestra when needed,” Senior pastor Keith Russell said. “He did everything with passion, energy, and excellence; whether it was teaching the Bible, playing his instrument, leading the orchestra, or calling balls and strikes.”

Westview brought in school psychologists and social workers to meet with students to discuss their reactions to Mr. Dasher’s passing, to encourage happy remembrances, and to develop objects of sympathy by way of posters, cards, and letters.

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