The Gilmer Middle School community is mourning the loss of their principal who tragically died in an accident Saturday evening.

Larry Walker was working on his property when he was killed Saturday night. CBS46 has learned that it was one of his daughter's who found him. Like many others in Gilmer County, Walker lived on a family farm and had a large piece of land to take care of, and that's what he was doing when he was riding a large tractor near a pond on the property.

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There were no witnesses to see it, but investigators are working with the theory that the ground shifted underneath him as he was passing a pond and that caused his tractor to tip over, trapping him under water.

Walker, an authority figure who appeared to be both loved and respected by students, staff, parents, and the community at large, will be deeply missed.

Superintendent Shanna Downs describes how all of his employees assembled for an impromtu Sunday memorial as soon as they heard the sad news. She describes how, in this small town, relationships among co-workers, are like family.

"A true leader to so many people in so many ways. He always seemed to know when someone was in need of a pat on the back or encouragement," said Downs. "Many of our staff went to high school with Mr. Walker, became teachers and worked with him here in the building. He has two daughters enrolled in our school, and a wife that's a teacher."

Gilmer County Schools released the following statement:

It is with the heaviest of hearts and many prayers that we make our community aware of the passing of beloved Gilmer Middle School Principal, Larry Walker, following a tragic accident late yesterday.

We wake this morning deeply saddened and shocked. Our district is in the process of making arrangements for counselors and out local ministry to help out staff and students in this time of great sadness.

The Gilmer Middle School gym will be open at 2:00 with counselors and members of our local ministry available.

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