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80-year-old FSCJ professor killed in crash on Heckscher Drive

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The woman who died in a two-vehicle crash Monday afternoon on Heckscher Drive just north of the Mayport Ferry landing was a lifelong educator who was still teaching at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Miriam Folk was pulling out of the Sandollar Restaurant parking lot shortly after 2 p.m. when the left side of her Toyota Prius was hit by the front left of a Ford F-250 traveling north on Heckscher Drive. Folk died at the scene, troopers said.

The driver of Ford, a 34-year-old Green Cove Springs man, and three passengers in the pickup were not injured, according to the Highway Patrol.

The Highway Patrol report shows the driver of the Ford was cited with operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

Folk, who was known as Mimi, had taught reading at FSCJ since 2005 and had worked as a principal in Pennsylvania prior to moving to Jacksonville. Monday was her 80th birthday.

Dr. Jeff Hess, dean of arts and sciences at the college, called her a fierce educator who was very dedicated to her students.

“It never gets easy when one moment a beloved colleague is here and the next moment you just can’t imagine (being) without them,” Hess said. “That’s how we’re feeling today.”

Hess shared a letter a former student wrote as a semester in Folk’s class was coming to an end.

“I wanted to thank you for your time and your inclusiveness with your teachings,” the student said. “Years from now, when I look back on my years in college, I will always think of Professor Folk. But most of all, I will remember the big heart that you have for your students."

Student Kiarrah Hunter shared these words after learning of Folks’ death:

“She was a very motivational being. Her spirit was so light, beautiful, and optimistic. She always pushed us, as her students, forward. She never made us feel less even with us taking an intermediate reading class. She is truly going to be missed. I’m sure no one can or will fill her shoes.”

Aerials show crash on Heckscher Drive just north of the ferry slip.
Aerials show crash on Heckscher Drive just north of the ferry slip. (WJXT)

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