Monday, January 16, 2012

Auburn teacher ID’d as El Dorado County motorcycle-crash victim


Vickie Altman would brighten a room, loved to teach, ride bikes
By Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
AUBURN CALIF - Vickie Altman is being remembered as a teacher with a gift for connecting with people of all ages. She died Sunday in a motorcycle crash on Salmon Falls Road.

AUBURN CA - In a state of shock and grief following the death of a popular teacher, students, staff and parents at an Orangevale school are now finding ways to honor the memory of Auburn’s Vickie Altman.

Altman, 52, was identified by the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office as the rider killed in a motorcycle crash Sunday on rural, winding Salmon Falls Road.

Altman had taught kindergarten and 7th and 8th grade classes at Orangevale Seventh-day Adventist School. Before taking that job, she had worked at Pine Hills Adventist Academy in Auburn from 2004 to 2006.

On Thursday, Altman’s regular parking space at the school was marked with floral tributes, balloons and notes. Inside, a parent had drawn a portrait of Altman and many of Orangevale’s 100 students have written notes around it expressing their feelings about the loss of a special teacher.

Brad Davis, Orangevale principal, said a candlelight vigil was held Sunday night. The school closed on Monday and classes began again Tuesday.

“She related with everybody, from grandparents to little kids,” Davis said. “There was hardly a time when Vickie was not chatting with someone about something meaningful.”

Out of school, Altman’s passions included riding motorcycles both off-road and on the street.

California Highway Patrol Officer Gilbert Lee said Altman’s bike left the road on narrow Salmon Falls Road, just north of Pilot View Drive Sunday afternoon.

The bike struck a telephone pole and Altman, an Auburn resident, was ejected from the motorcycle, Lee said. Altman was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

A mother of two, Altman had lived in Washington and Oregon as well as California. She graduated from Walla Walla College in Washington state in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She completed a master’s degree in educational leadership through California State University, Sacramento in 2008.

On the Orangevale Seventh-day Adventist School website, among pictures of Altman smiling with students in the classroom, she is quoted as saying “Love what you do and know that it matters … what could be more fun?”

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday in Gracepoint Adventist Church, 3500 Sunset Blvd., in Rocklin.

“She was an upbeat person and the world got brighter wherever she was,” Davis said.




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