Cobb County

Beloved Cobb teacher dies just weeks after cancer diagnosis, family confirms

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A beloved special education teacher who was in hospice with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer has died.

Lindsay Civitella’s family confirmed to Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell that Civitella passed away Monday night.

Students and staff rallied around the Allatoona High School teacher in her final days.

Her sister, Hailey Godfrey, said that being a teacher was more than a job for Civitella, it’s her passion and a role that doesn’t stay inside the classroom.

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“She cared about those students. They were her kids. We knew all their names,” Godfrey said. “She talked about them all of the time.”

Godfrey said Civitella never imagined being in a situation that would keep her away from what she loves.

“Five weeks ago, I was with her,” Godfrey said. “She got a call that the biopsy that had been done was, in fact, cancer.”


Godfrey said it was not the typical type of tumor doctors usually see with ovarian cancer, so they weren’t quite sure how to treat it. They recommended she go to MD Anderson medical center in Texas.

“By the time she got there, it had already spread throughout her major organs and she was in liver failure, so they weren’t able to help her,” Godfrey said.

Civitella returned to metro Atlanta with a new sense of determination.

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“She was prepared to start the first day of school, and she and her husband went to her classroom last weekend to make sure it was all set up,” Godfrey said. “At that point, she was well enough to return to work.”

But over the weekend, things took a turn for the worse.

“She had a couple of hours to days, approximately, to live,” Godfrey said.

There was an outpouring of love from students and staff for a teacher who’s given her heart to so many.

“It’s hard,” Godfrey said. “Nobody expected it to go this fast.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help Civitella’s husband.