PROVO — A community is coping with a tough loss after a local elementary school teacher's sudden death.

Christy Yardley was supposed to start teaching sixth grade on Aug. 15, but she died on last Friday following complications from a minor surgery, according to her family.

The 40-year-old educator had been a teacher around the world, including in Russia and Taiwan. Yardley had spent the last three years at Rock Canyon Elementary in Provo.

Yardley leaves behind a husband and four children.

Eric Yardley said in a statement his wife meant a great deal to her family, friends and to the community.

"In terms of her contribution as an educator here in Provo and southern Utah, where she taught for five years as well, I don't think you can measure the tremendous impact she has had on her students and those she worked with," he said.

"She loved her students and spent countless hours making sure they could learn in a fun environment. She always said that learning should be fun and that's what she strived to do each day."

Provo resident Elizabeth Elder’s son was in Yardley’s class last year and said the news came as a shock.

"It was really hard,” Elder said. “(Her students) took it personally. They knew that this was a tragic event."

Elder said her son enjoyed the way Yardley taught her students with love and also discipline.

“She was just a great, loving person,” she said. “She made him feel confident and she made him feel like he was worth something.”

Last school year, Yardley received the Golden Apple Award, recognizing her as the elementary school’s top educator.

Her former students put together a memory book for the family with numerous messages:

"Mrs. Yardley was kind, fun and had a great sense of humor,” read one message.

“She was the best science and math teacher because she brought treats and made it fun to do."

“She always had a smile on her face she was a bright person."

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday.

As for the students she would have been teaching, the elementary school is working on getting everything ready for the first day of school.