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Pennsylvania middle school teacher Sharon Regoli Ciferno was on vacation in Mexico enjoying a moment on a rooftop deck at a friend’s house, when she laughed so hard that she lost her balance and fell 20 feet, landing on concrete. After being rushed to the University of California San Diego Medical Center, she died on Aug. 14, 10 days after the fall.

Her brother, David Regoli, said she was on a trip with her daughter and two other people in California, and they decided to add a couple of days in Mexico to their 20-day vacation. Regoli told TribLive.com that his sister heard someone say something funny and started laughing.

She was sitting on the wall of the deck with nothing to support her back. When she laughed, she threw her head back and lost her balance. Her brother said he was texting with her “maybe an hour or two before she fell. She was texting about how much fun they were having.”

“After a week of fighting for recovery, she passed peacefully with her family at her side,” her obituary read.

Ciferno had two children, a 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter. She was remembered as a caring sixth-grade social studies teacher throughout her 28-year career. She was set to start another school year at Huston Middle School.

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“She not only passed along skills in math, science, reading and history but was also passionate about instilling values of fairness, kindness and generosity. In those instances, she truly led by example,” her obituary said.

Huston Middle School Principal Brian Ferra said the loss of Ciferno will “leave a void in the school.”

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“She wore her heart on her sleeve,” Ferra told TribLive.com. “She would do anything for anyone. You’re never going to replace her as a person.”

Maddie Gerthoffer, 12, just had Ciferno as her social studies teacher last year. She told TribLive.com that Ciferno made learning fun.

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“She didn’t care about who you were or what your background was; she just loved teaching,” Gerthoffer said. “She was so kind to me.”

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