Armbrister succumbs to rare brain disease
Word spread fast Wednesday morning throughout the Baldwin School District when it was learned that Gale Armbrister had died at 4 a.m. as a result of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Armbrister, who lived just west of Vinland and had been a long-time resident of Douglas County, began substitute teaching in the Baldwin district in 1999 after retiring from Hallmark Cards.
He had just been diagnosed with CJD recently and had been moved to a Kansas City area nursing home last week. CJD is a deadly brain disorder that strikes about one person in a million and is often confused with mad cow disease.
"It has some symptoms that are similar to mad cow, but it's very inaccurate to call it mad cow," said Armbrister's son, Matt, in an interview last week.
Baldwin Supt. James White expressed the sadness that swept through the district as a result of the death.
"It's a big loss to everyone in the district," said White. "He was a great substitute teacher for us. He had great rapport with the students and the staff. We hate to lose someone with his ability to get along with the students."