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Iowa Spanish teacher Nohema Graber mourned; murder charges for teens

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FAIRFIELD, Iowa — Nohema Graber’s life from Mexican immigrant to Iowa high school teacher was not predictable and her demise was stunning. 

Graber, a Spanish trainer in Fairfield, Iowa and mom of three, was, her daughter wrote on Fb, “an absolute angel in our household.”

In line with police, her life ended Tuesday at Fairfield’s Chautauqua Park. Two 16-year-old college students from Fairfield Excessive, the place Graber taught Spanish, have been charged along with her homicide Thursday.

“To the 2 youngsters that so cruelly took her life, it’s clear that they want extra love and lightweight of their hearts,” her daughter, Nohema Marie Graber, wrote. 

In a press release Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds stated: “My coronary heart goes out to the household, buddies, colleagues, and college students that are coping with this tragic homicide of Nohema Graber.   Ms. Graber touched numerous youngsters’s lives by means of her work as an educator throughout our state by sharing her ardour of overseas language. I’m assured by means of the work of our devoted legislation enforcement that justice will prevail.”

‘An act like that is unspeakable’:2 Iowa teens charged with killing high school Spanish teacher

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Born in Mexico, Graber  became a commercial pilot

Graber’s story began 66 years ago in the “Athens of Veracruz.”

Nohema Castillo y Castillo was born in Xalapa, the capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Known as a cultural center, it’s a big place. More than 800,000 people call it home.

Her birth name was unexpected. Her older brothers and sisters were all given the last name “Castillo Castillo” for their mom and dad, who shared a not uncommon last name. But the clerk who registered her birth came from a town that followed an old tradition of placing “y,” Spanish for and, between the parents family names in such cases.

“She was always proud of that ‘y,'”  her ex-husband Paul Graber told the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network. According to Paul Graber and other family members, the two had remained close since their divorce five years.

In fact, it was Paul Graber who reported her missing to police Wednesday morning— sparking a search that eventually led police to her body.

Read: In criminal complaints, police say social media exchanges revealed suspects’ motive to kill Iowa teacher, attempts to conceal crime

After graduating from school, Graber became a flight attendant with now-defunct Mexicana de Aviación, then her home country’s oldest airline. 

But she wasn’t satisfied so she did something wholly unexpected, according to Paul Graber. 

She began to studying to be a commercial airline pilot. She paid her way through flight school and became one of the first women in Mexico licensed to fly passenger jets, Paul Graber said.

Fairfield High School

Paul Graber and Nohema Graber, still Castillo y Castillo then, had met at a party and 11 years later, when he was flying on business, he called her when he had a layover in her city.  He wasn’t expecting she’d even be home. But he wanted to try.

“She had the day off,” he said. 

So they saw each other in person for the first time since they were teenagers. 

Soon they were a couple again and then married.

She continued her career with the airlines and he had a job at a consultant in Mexico City helping foreign companies navigate the Mexican bureaucracy, he said.

They loved Mexico City, their lives, their careers. Fairfield was just a place they went to visit Paul’s family.

What we know: The death of Spanish teacher Nohema Graber in Fairfield, Iowa

Youngsters, a transfer to Iowa, a brand new path 

The following chapter of Nohema Graber’s life started in 1991, when she gave delivery to a son, Christian — who would later observe his mom’s footsteps with a job as a world courier.

Subsequent, in 1992, got here a second son, Jared.

Finally, Nohema and Paul Graber determined they wished to go away Mexico Metropolis for a spot the place their children would not develop up with “bars on the home windows,” he stated.

The place else to maneuver however Fairfield? The city was a bit extra cosmopolitan — what’s now Maharishi College of Administration had relocated there within the mid-Seventies — and it was a great place to lift a household.

Just a few years later that they had their third youngster, daughter Nohema Marie. 

Nohema Graber turned lively in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, ultimately attending mass each day, and, in response to Paul Graber, turned a liaison between the church and what was then a small, however rising Latino inhabitants.

As their youngsters grew older, Nohema Graber determined, in her fifties, to get a level in English and a educating certificates from Iowa Wesleyan College in close by Mt. Nice.

Nohema Graber had anticipated her English diploma would flip right into a job as an English trainer. However when she graduated from Iowa Wesleyan in 2006, Spanish lecturers have been in demand. And he or she was a local speaker.

Her first job as a trainer was at Ottumwa Excessive Faculty the place she taught till 2012.

When a part-time job opened for a trainer at Fairfield Excessive Faculty, she took it in hopes it may change into full-time, Paul Graber stated. It did. 

She had change into a fixture at Fairfield Excessive Faculty, cherished by many college students. She usually obtained playing cards and letters from former college students, Paul Graber stated. 

“In her 9 years with Fairfield Excessive Faculty, Mrs. Graber touched the lives of many college students, dad and mom and workers,” Laurie Noll, the Fairfield Neighborhood Faculty District’s superintendent, stated in a press release Thursday,

“She simply wished children to higher themselves. That is why this act of madness or violence was simply such a waste of so many lives,” Paul Graber stated.

Daniel Lathrop is a workers author on the Register’s investigative group. Attain him at (319) 244-8873 or [email protected]. Comply with him at @lathropd on Twitter and facebook.com/lathropod.



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