Beloved coach, teacher killed in Wilton accident

  • The Seymour family, from left: Parker, 4, Leah, Nick and Deacon, who is 2. Nick Seymour died in a car accident last Wednesday. COURTESY PHOTO

  • Nick Seymour’s photos and newspaper clippings lay on the table at his parents’ Antrim home. COURTESY PHOTO

  • Nick Seymour and his future wife, Leah, attend the junior prom at ConVal. In the photo, Nick is doing his trademark pose. COURTESY PHOTO

  • Nick Seymour’s yearbook entry gives “special thanks to Mr. Leonard and Mr. Bowman.” “I hope I can become as good of a teacher as you two are,” he says. COURTESY PHOTO

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/2/2017 6:43:20 PM

Nick Seymour, a demanding teacher and devoted father who was known for his “Simpsons” tattoo and a goofy personality he shared with those closest to him, died in a car accident on Route 101 in Wilton last Wednesday.

He was 29.

Seymour, who coached and taught in the ConVal School District for more than six years, was remembered in a Facebook group called “Nick Seymour Memorial,” which was started by friend and mentor Greg Leonard, a former football coach and retired teacher at ConVal.

Leonard taught Seymour and coached him on the newly established ConVal football team from 2002-06. In Seymour’s junior year, he interned with Leonard, who put Seymour to work, making him create lesson plans and handle other teaching duties.

“And he far exceeded those expectations,” Leonard said. “I knew he was going to be an exceptional teacher from the beginning.”

After he graduated from Keene State in 2010, Seymour started as a high school teacher in Mascenic, where he made an instant impact.

Seymour carried around a thank you letter from a student during his time at Mascenic Regional High School. The letter was from Mersedes Lopez, who graduated from Mascenic in 2011. In it Lopez, who is from Mexico, thanked Seymour for spending extra time helping her understand his criminal justice class as English was her second language.

“I remember when I graduated he gave me an encyclopedia,” Lopez said. “Not only he was a great teacher, he was a great person...He always said, ‘Take your time, don’t worry. You have good potential.’”

In 2011, got a job in the ConVal School District, working as a sixth- and seventh-grade social studies teacher at South Meadow School. In 2013, he got a job teaching at the high school, which was his “dream,” according to Leonard.

“From the time I started dating him he always wanted to be a teacher. I never knew him wanting to do anything else,” said Leah Seymour, Nick’s high school sweetheart whom he married July 9, 2011, five years after they first started dating.

“He was kind of a little bit of an old soul, he knew what he wanted, he was definitely very driven, more mature than anyone at the age,” said friend Lorenzo Van Horn. 

From the start, Seymour’s mother, Wanda Chancey, and father, Donald Seymour, knew they had a unique child. When Seymour was six years old, they took him to Disney World. Seymour’s favorite part was the Hall of Presidents — an attraction which features animatronic forms of past presidents giving speeches.

“When he was an eighth grade, he knew he wanted to do something with history,” Chancey said. “He was always an odd kid with that stuff.”

When Seymour was in third grade, his parents moved from Deering to Antrim. The Seymours wanted to get their only child into a better school district and into a place with a Pee Wee football team.

“He was a sweet, sensitive kid,” said his mother Wanda Chancey. “He loved sports. And he loved football.”

On Chancey and her husband Donald Seymour’s kitchen table Monday sat a table full of their son’s certificates, newspaper clippings and school projects. One first-grade project was a booklet simply titled “Football.”

“I really, really like football. I want to be a quarterback when I grow up. I want to play football for the Cowboys because my uncle was on the peewee team for the Cowboys,” said Seymour in the project.

Seymour played for the Monadnock Mountaineers Pee Wee football team. In high school, he played defensive end and fullback. But he wasn’t a star.

“He was no hero on the field,” said his father Donald. “We tried to let him down easy.”

Still, Seymour told his father, “I want to be involved.”

And he got involved. Right after he graduated from ConVal, he started as a volunteer assistant coach under Leonard.

“Which is unusual and can be quite difficult because he's coaching players that he played with,” Leonard said. “But there was never ever, ever an issue of respect.”

In the classroom and on the football field, Seymour was demanding.

“He was very adamant that you needed to work hard to get your grade,” Leah said.

Seymour was known for his quiet demeanor and “grumpy” face.

“I can’t tell you how many people, how many kids I’ve heard say that they thought he was the biggest jerk on the football field or in class, and then he became his favorite teacher,” Leah said.

Oriana Camara, a 2015 ConVal grad, took a current events class of Seymour’s. One year, Camara’s essay was chosen to be honored at the state Supreme Court in a state-wide contest. When her mother couldn’t make the event, Seymour volunteered to take her.

“I remember him always making class interesting. We would have debates over current events, political issues, and national/international topics,” said Camara in a message. “I would describe him as humble, witty, and caring. I know he will truly be missed by the ConVal community.”

ConVal grad Michael Kelley played running back under Seymour.

“He was so nice and kind to everyone,” said Kelley in a message to the Ledger-Transcript. “He was always making jokes, but serious when he needed to be.”

When you Googled Nick Seymour’s name in the past, a 2007 story about the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie” in Brattleboro, Vermont came up. In that story, reported by the Associated Press, is a photo of a man’s back with a tattoo of Homer Simpson as the Hulk, busting through a wall — a reference to a season 13 episode where Homer’s pent-up rage manifests into a town-wide rampage.

"I'm a huge Simpsons fan, and a little crazy," said Seymour in the story.

“He was quite proud of himself,” Leah said.

To his friends, Seymour was a “goofball” who made funny faces and never took a photo without his trademark “thumbs up” pose.

“He was kind of a quiet guy, but once you broke him out of his shell, he was one of the easiest people to talk with,” said Jared Orazio, who played football under Seymour before becoming one of his best friends and a groomsman at Seymour’s wedding.

Seymour was always spinning and flipping his four-year-old daughter Parker and blowing raspberries on the belly of his 2-year-old son, Deacon.

“He was a great dad,” Wanda said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do without him.”

Seymour was on his way from his new job at Merrimack High School to sprint football team practice at Franklin Pierce University, when his car, headed eastbound on the afternoon of Sept. 27 around 3:30 p.m., crossed the center line and collided with a van, according to Wilton police.

Seymour was an assistant coach at FPU for the last four seasons. Leonard, who used to coach the sprint football team at FPU, broke the news to the players.

“He had such great personal connections with some of those players. It was really rough on them,” Leonard said.

Just like it was rough on Seymour’s friends and family.

“I'm exhausted,” Leonard said. “I'm just thinking about him all the time.”

Seymour planned on taking a break from coaching at the end of the year to pursue his master’s degree from Keene State and a career as a principal. The Seymour family talked about that difficult decision to put football on hold.

Leah said she’s been holding it together.

“If it weren’t for my two kids, I would still be in bed, I don’t really have a choice, they need me,” Leah said.

Nighttime is the hardest, she said. That’s when she’ll think about things like when her husband would pick out the right pair of Nike shoes for his son.

“I just started crying because he’s never going to pick out his sneakers again,” she said.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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