CHICAGO (WLS) -- The parade of nearly 200 cars filled with friends, former students and colleagues of 59-year-old Joan Harrington seemed endless.
It was but a small percentage of the lives Harrington helped form as a pre-school teacher at Northside Catholic Academy.
"It was overwhelming seeing so many kids," said Harrington's son, Edward.
Harrington taught for nearly three decades, including some 20 years at the Catholic school connected to St. Gertrude Catholic Church. She did not teach this year because she had terminal cancer, and doctors did not expect her to survive the year.
On Friday, Harrington sat in her wheelchair in front of the funeral home her family runs, waving and sharing memories with her husband.
Her family said it was like she had a chance to attend her own funeral, to see and feel the love from so many people she touched.
Linda Ruby and Harrington taught together and were close friends.
"It probably would have been impossible for a large group like that to see her otherwise," Ruby said.
She died two days later.
"She loved kids and she left a huge impact on kids all over the city and it really showed in that parade," Edward Harrington said.
Her family expects hundreds of people would come to her funeral, and they are planning that for a time when social distancing is over.
Former Northside teacher honored by those whose lives she touched, just 2 days before dying