Saundra Simonee saw the union of her two greatest passions -- education and song -- when her students walked down the aisle in cap and gown.
Saundra, a cosmetology teacher for three decades at Nassau BOCES Barry Tech and a gifted Soprano, enjoyed singing the Star Spangled Banner each year at graduation, say colleagues. She will be remembered as an "inspiring educator" with a joyful and determined spirit.
Simonee, 59, was found dead in Bay Shore Friday. Police are investigating and have not yet named any suspects.
"For those that didn't know Saundra, she was an incredibly strong, smart woman who strove to be the best at everything," Harriet, a former colleague of Simonee, wrote on Oyster Bay Patch. "I will miss her as will all of her colleagues and student at Barry Tech and her family. She always gave me the biggest and strongest hug and smile."
"So sad and hard to believe. I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Simonee for my two years at Barry Tech," Adele B. wrote on Oyster Bay Patch. "She was such a great person and definitely didn't deserve this. My heart goes out to her family. May she rest in peace."
Simonee made her singing debut performing The National Anthem at The Tilles Center at C.W. Post in 2000 and returned with encore performances in 2012 and 2013.
In 2011, she recorded her first solo album, a mix of operatic, classical, contemporary, patriotic, and spiritual music, at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove. Studio owner Richie Cannata was shocked by her death.
"She just loved to sing and make music," he said.
Simonee's body was found wrapped in a sheet Friday behind a dumpster in a Bay Shore apartment complex parking lot. The East Norwich woman had been missing since early last week, sources close to the family said.
Police have not determined a cause of death or named any suspects. The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information on the case was asked to call the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad, at (631) 852-6392, or place an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at (800) 220-TIPS.