Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) – Man who always had a smile on his face and a kind word for others.

That’s how John Sougstad is being described by those who knew him. It’s something that both the Lansing and Jackson communities will be missing.

“Special education teaching our kids is a lot,” said Kaci Babineau, a spokesperson for the Jackson County Intermediate School District. “It takes a special person to really have that heart… John’s heart, he touched so many people.”

John Sougstad worked in social work and special education for the past three decades.

A professor at Michigan state university and the assistant director of special education for Jackson county intermediate schools, he was a leader in his field.

“John has an extensive background in special education and school psychology,” Babineau said. “He was a mentor to a lot of our employees. He touched the lives of hundreds of people in our organization so this is just a very tragic loss for the Jackson county ISD.”

John was one of three people killed Friday night. His wife, Barbara and his elder son, Ryan were also killed.

Neighbors tell 6 news, Ryan’s daughter ran from the scene to a neighbor’s house, who then called 911.

Daniel Sougstad has been charged with all of their deaths. He was denied bond in his arraignment Monday afternoon and is scheduled for pre-trial on Oct. 8.

The news is still hard to believe, particularly those who knew the Sougstads.

“Johns’ loss is going to be felt across many spaces,” Babineau said. “We would likely draw off his expertise in a situation like this, so to have him not here to provide that comfort to our own employees I think is going to be hard to grasp for a lot of people.”

The Jackson County ISD called in grief counselors Monday, to help those who knew and worked with John.
Babineau says today’s been difficult but feels she knows what John’s message would be.

“I know he would want everybody to lean on each other,” Babineau said. “(He would want) us to support each other right now.”