THE deaths of an Illawarra couple in the Ukrainian MH17 tragedy have shocked the community.
Late last week, it was learned Kanahooka's Michael and Carol Clancy were among the 298 passengers killed on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down above Ukraine on Friday, July 18.
Just months before, Mr Clancy had retired as deputy principal at Albion Park Public School to take a three-week global adventure with his wife Carol, who also taught at the school as a teacher's aide specialising in students with a disability.
Albion Park Public school held an assembly for students yesterday to discuss the deaths of the Mr and Mrs Clancy.
Albion Park Public School principal Glenn Daniels said Mr Clancy had retired retired at the end of last year after serving this community as a highly respected teacher and Deputy Principal for the past 22 years.
"Mr Clancy was a much-loved and respected teacher and colleague and his passing under such tragic circumstances has saddened many people in our community,'' he said.
"Despite our sadness we are supporting one another and appreciate the support of our colleagues from other schools and the availability of counsellors for our students and staff.
"Our thoughts are with Mr and Mrs Clancy’s family and friends."
The couple were known as "kind humanitarians" and had embarked on their grand European trip to reward themselves after years of working. Mr Clancy suffered from health problems, so they saved up for first-class tickets.
Mrs Clancy's daughter Jane Malcolm told Fairfax her mother and step-father were ecstatic to be heading overseas and considered the holiday a well-deserved reward.
"It was a very big thing for them to be doing. It was such an outlay and an expense because it was so hard for them to travel," Ms Malcolm said.
Religious and political leaders and members for the community joined Carol Clancy's children Andrew and Jane Malcolm at a candlelight vigil in Wollongong on Monday night.
Family, friends, colleagues and students took to social media to express their shock and condolences.
"Mrs Clancy was my year 3 teacher at Mount Brown School and was such beautiful teacher, always happy.
Mr Clancy was an amazing teacher/deputy principal to my son. I have never known anyone to walk so fast, always on the move. A truly wonderful gentleman, always there to help his students, families and co-workers." - Toni Frendo.
"You will live in the hearts of the hundreds of children and parents whose lives you touched." - Maureen Good.
"Our school at Albion Park where we can share, learn and grow. Mr Clancy was the heart and soul of the school and lived to help others." - De-Arn Clout
"A wonderful educator and kind soul, who even on the worst days and most challenging moments, would still smile." - Sam Callaghan.
"This is a time for reflection, an opportunity for students and staff to speak openly about the positive things about Mr Clancy," Mr Daniels said.
The school will hold a public ceremony to remember the couple at a date that is yet to be decided.