(WMC) - Family, friends, and former students honored a Mid-South coach who died this week. Coach Duane Stokes died while working at Raleigh Egypt High School on Thursday.
A large crowd gathered at Stokes' former high school on Sunday night to pay respects and show support for his wife.
"We have a lot of friends around us, so we're going to OK, because we know where he is," said Stokes' wife, Erika. "He's in a much better place and with that, I found consolation, I find strength, and I find peace."
Stokes taught at Craigmont High School for seven years before transferring to Raleigh Egypt High School five years ago. His former students could not let the weekend pass without honoring the coach that taught them so much.
"And he's influenced so many lives over the past 20 years he's been teaching and coaching and it feels really good," Erika said.
The vigil was emotional as former students and coworkers talked about the life lessons he shared with them.
As the sun set, the crowd lit candles and said a final prayer before releasing balloons into the sky as a final goodbye.
A visitation for Stokes will be held Friday, August 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Oak Grove Baptist Church, located at 7289 Stage Road. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, also at Oak Grove Baptist Church.