Joplin Tornado

Kayleigh Savannah Teal, 16 | ‘Fun-sized’ lifted the spirits of others

Updated: 2011-06-20T19:31:46Z


The Kansas City Star

At just a smidge over 5 feet tall, Kayleigh Savannah Teal relished the chance to correct those who pointed out her vertical challenges.

“She doesn’t like people saying she was short. She went around saying she was fun-sized,” said her best friend, Jordan Lawson.

Teal, 16, of rural Seneca, Mo., was working at a Pizza Hut in Joplin when the tornado came through. Her body was discovered early Monday.

At Seneca High School, friends spent the week remembering the sophomore’s expressive personality.

“She was like always outgoing and never really shy. If you were sad like any part of the day, she could make you laugh,” Lawson said.

At school there were tears, Lawson said, but her friends also stopped to laugh.

Teal was hardly a wallflower, after all. She had blue streaks in her hair and loved to sing at the top of her lungs.

If it wasn’t the “Oompa Loompa” song from the classic movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” then it was probably something like these lines from a Kesha song called “Dinosaur”:

Old man, why are you staring at me … it’s kind of creepy. You should be prowling around the old folks’ home.

“We went around singing it all the time,” Lawson said through laughter. “It annoyed the crap out of my mom.”

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