Paul Bisson knew the name of every student at Tecumseh Vista Academy. The popular school principal will be sorely missed, say school officials who describe him as a special man who always put students first. 

The Windsor-Essex community is mourning the death of Bisson, 53, who died on Christmas Eve.

As news of his death spread through the community, dozens of people shared memories about the principal, saying he had big smile and an even bigger heart.

"He absolutely wasn't just any principal," said Connie Buckler, chairwoman of the Greater Essex County District School Board. "Paul Bisson was all about the kids, everything was for the kids."

Connie Buckler

Greater Essex County District School Board chairwoman, Connie Buckler worked with principal Paul Bisson for more than 10 years. Bisson died Christmas day. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Buckler, who worked with Bisson for more than 10 years, got the call about his death Christmas morning. 

"I was devastated," she said. "It's such a significant loss."

Family and friends reached out online to share memories of Bisson.

"I can not believe he is gone but he will forever be remembered for his big heart, bright smile, awesome laugh and for being such a great family man," wrote Bisson's sister-in-law, Brenda Renaud, beneath his obituary online.

Janis Gagné, who taught with Bisson at Puce Public School, also posted in response to his death, writing that working with him was always fun.

"We laughed a lot with Paul who had a terrific sense of humour and an infectious laugh," she said. "He wanted things done in the best possible way to benefit everyone."

Bisson is being celebrated as a generous man who always put his family first. He sponsored two underprivileged children and is also remembered for his willingness to take a stand for causes he believed in.

Visitation hours have been scheduled at Melady Funeral Home and Chapel in Beller River from 2 - 5 p.m.  and 7 - 9 p.m. Thursday. A funeral mass will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Simon and St. Jude Church in Belle River.