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Man found dead at Duluth apartment complex April 19, 2014


Gwinnett native battling bacterial infection dies

Hannah Rinehart

Hannah Rinehart

SNELLVILLE — Those following the saga of a woman’s battle with a bacterial infection were greeted with sad news early Wednesday.

“At exactly 4:15 this morning, Hannah Johnson Rinehart went to the be with the Lord,” wrote husband, Mark Rinehart, a South Gwinnett High School teacher, on the family’s website. “She is celebrating, and I am thankful for God allowing me to have the privilege of being her husband while she was here on this Earth.”

Rinehart fell ill in late June after contracting a rare bacterial infection from dog saliva. By late July, the tissue in her hands and feet had deteriorated to the point that her extremities had to be amputated.

A patient care technician in DeKalb County, Hannah, 32, had successfully battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma for years, and had advocated for cancer research at Relay For Life events.

On the family’s website, Mark reported that family was present “when Hannah was ready to go.”

Her brother, David Johnson, said those who knew her will remember her as “a humble girl.”

“She always put other people’s needs above her own, and she was a true joy to know,” Johnson said. “Hannah had grace, and she had a real love for living and love for other people.”

Added Johnson: “She was remarkable, and it’s going to take a long time after her being gone for this whole thing to become bearable.”

Her father said his daughter was a source of happiness for those she met.

”I think back to the day Hannah was born thirty two years ago and I can’t think of a day in which she has not brought joy into my life,” Doug Johnson, Hannah’s father, wrote on Facebook.

”For those of you who have followed her story, I’d like to say how much we appreciate it,” her father said. “Words don’t seem adequate to express our feelings for the prayers and love and concern and support we have received.”

In the final weeks of Rinehart’s life, the family publicly expressed their opinion at a board of education meeting about a Gwinnett County Public Schools policy that they said kept Mark from being able to spend time with his wife.

Fellow teachers at South Gwinnett had offered to help him by donating sick and vacation time, but a spokesperson with the district said it just wasn’t possible. The human resources department, however, offered Mark other options, which he declined.

Despite the disagreement, Mark said the support from community members has been overwhelming.

“Thank you for all the love and support you have shown my wife and our family,” he wrote. “Hannah’s life as we understand it through our senses has passed, yet I can find some solace in knowing she is doing far better now, and she is surrounded by God’s loving kindness in a way that I cannot even imagine.”

Those wishing to donate to assist Mark with medical expenses that accrued can visit

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.


teelee 1 year, 7 months ago

I hope all of you at the GCPS that refused to help her and her family can sleep at night. Rest in peace Hannah you are truly an angel now.


NorcrossDot 1 year, 7 months ago

I totally agree with you teelee. However it appears in the last 20+ years even before that when my children were in school that we no longer have "educators" but robots that can not make a decision. They have to read the guideline books. Zero tolerance was the worst thing they ever did. You have to have common sense and be able to access situations and respond accordingly. You will not find that in the public education system.


chasmcjr 1 year, 7 months ago

What has 'Zero tolerence' got to do with anything. Have a little respect. This is about the untimely death of a young woman. Bashing the school system is for some other time.


teelee 1 year, 7 months ago

Zero Tolerance equals Zero common sense.


chasmcjr 1 year, 7 months ago

I am going to venture a guess that you have some personal experience with 'Zero Tolerance'. Kid get kicked out of GCPS?


NewsReader 1 year, 7 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go out to you Mark, Hannah's loving husband, and Doug, Hannah's father, and all those extended family and friends. I hope you find peace with this outcome that only time can heal. Bless all of you!


Katrina 1 year, 7 months ago

To the Rinehart family: Our thoughts and prayers are with you!


ssilover1 1 year, 7 months ago

Such a tragecy. Sincere sympathy to the friends and family. I know CDC is studying this bacteria. God help them find a treatment that is consistently effective.


Susan 1 year, 7 months ago

My prayers go out for the Rinehart and Johnson families.


Coolray 1 year, 7 months ago

Condolences to this family. May you be comforted by the thoughts and prayers of others at this time.


Sonoma 1 year, 7 months ago

The whole GCPS school board should be fired immediately!


Dickens 1 year, 7 months ago

 My condolences to this family; but I cannot believe the bad press nationwide the GCPS is getting from this.   The school board showed be removed from their posts.

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