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Teacher killed in mowing accident

CENTRAL POINT - A teacher, youth pastor and mother died in an accident while using a riding lawn mower at her rural Central Point home Saturday.

Joan Gugliotta, 57, was cutting grass when the mower caught the edge of a 6- to 8-foot ledge, said authorities.

"She was trying to get to the very edge of the ledge where the property sloped down" said Jackson County sheriff's deputy Chris Turner.

The accident took place at her residence in the 3700 block of Old Military Road between 8:30 a.m., when she was seen starting the mower, and 4:30 p.m., when her son, Christopher, discovered her, Turner said.

The mower had rolled over and suffocated her, said the sheriff's deputy.

The sheriff's department, Central Point firefighters and the county medical examiner responded to the call, said authorities.

Gugliotta was a sixth-grade teacher at Scenic Middle School and a youth pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Central Point. She formerly taught at Sams Valley Elementary School.

Jim Walley, who teaches choir at both Scenic and First Presbyterian Church, said many people will be impacted by her death.

"It's an overwhelming loss to both School District 6 and the community because she touched so many youth through her school work and her ministry," he said.

"She was a wonderful teacher admired by many," he said.