CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Students and staff at Matoaca High School are mourning the loss of a long-time administrator they called the "light of the office."
Chesterfield Police said Dorothy Ott, 64, of South Chesterfield, was killed in a car crash Monday afternoon.
Police responded to Woodpecker Road near Reedy Branch Road around 3:40 p.m. and found Ott's vehicle had struck a tree.
Ott was transported to VCU Medical Center where she died from her injuries, police said.
"She was just the light in our main office," said Jill Anderson, a coworker and friend of Ott's. "She really was."
While the desk where Ott sat in the administration office of Matoaca High School remained empty Tuesday, coworkers said her warm personality is still lingers.
Paper cut-out hearts are taped to her desk. Those hearts were part of an "Acts of Kindness" project coworkers said Ott orchestrated in February.
"She put them in the mailbox for teachers to write notes to each other," Anderson said. "It kind of became a competition about who got the most hearts, who was loved the most. Of course, Dorothy probably won the award!"
"She was always the first to greet me, help me," said Junior Alyssa Brame. "She was very, very sweet."
Brame heard about Ott's passing Tuesday morning when an announcement was made over the school speakers.
She said she and other students were in disbelief.
I found it very tough to concentrate on my exam this morning because it was just so shocking to me," Brame said. "I'm kind of still in shock about it. I'm definitely really hurt by her loss."
"She was very loving, very giving," Anderson added. "She was really the most giving person, always very happy and chipper."
Anderson said Ott loved her Warrior family and could often times be seen out in the hallways.
"She walked these halls every day for exercise on her break," Anderson said. "We took her path today and we want to take that the rest of this week."
On one of the cut-out hearts at her desk, someone wrote, "We walked in your memory today. You are missed so very much. Our hearts are broken."
"She's been here for more than 20 years," Anderson said. "She knew the families. She worked with the moms and dads of the families we have now. Her legacy is truly a ripple effect in our community."
Students still have exams the rest of the week, but Brame is hoping they will stay strong in memory of Ott.
"I think one thing Mrs. Ott would want is to focus on finishing strong in our exams and our classes," she said.
Ott leaves behind her husband, children, and grandchildren. Anderson said she was a huge Washington Redskins fan.
Chesterfield police ask anyone with information about the crash to contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at (804) 748-1251 or Crime Solvers at (804) 748-0660.
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