Estelle Brown was headteacher at Hillingdon Infants School – now Hillingdon Primary School – in Uxbridge Road, Hillingdon, from 1965 to 1976.
She died of bronchopneumonia at Hillingdon Hospital on May 11, aged 96.
Her son Christopher, 62, of Hamilton Road, Hayes, said: “She really loved kids. Her profession was ideal for her and she found it very, very rewarding."
He added: “I remember coming to see her at the school and they were having an assembly and I stood at the back with all the kids chatting. They only had to hear her footsteps and they stopped quiet.
“People respected her. She never had to smack a child or anything like that.”
Mrs Brown, who lived in Hamilton Road, Hayes, had been born in Candle Island, which belongs to India, but was sent by her parents to live in the UK in 1941, after the Second World War broke out, while her sister, Sylvia, was sent to Australia.
The siblings reunited 14 years later, when Sylvia – who was herself a maths teacher and is now aged 98 – came to live in the UK. The pair remained close up until Mrs Brown died.
Christopher said: “Even in my last conversation with her – bear in mind she was very ill – she was asking, 'How's Sylvia? How are the dogs?' She was always asking about other people. She always put other people first."
Mrs Brown leaves her sister Sylvia, her children Christopher, Trisha and Roger, her five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Her funeral, which anyone who knew her is invited to attend, will take place at The Immaculate Heart of Mary church, in Botwell Lane, Hayes, on May 26, from 12.15pm.