Jessica Knapp said the outpouring of emotion and support at yesterday”s memorial service remembering the life of her roommate, Engineering junior Rebecca Hilger, provided her with a sense of closure.
“She would have liked to be remembered as a loving, caring person, which she was,” said Knapp, an LSA junior who shared a room with Hilger in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.
Knapp said the service was especially beneficial to everyone who missed the funeral of Hilger, who was killed Dec. 30 in a car accident while on a skiing trip with her boyfriend.
Many of her friends could not attend the funeral because it was held during the University”s winter break.
Last night”s memorial, held at the Michigan Union ballroom, featured reflections on Hilger”s life by Nursing junior Heidi Hudson, Hilger”s roommate during their freshman year, and Kinesiology junior and close friend Traci Buchalski, who shared a story of a canoeing trip with Hilger. Buchalski said the story typified Hilger”s personality.
“The part we went on had no current. We sat there, didn”t move at all and enjoyed nature,” Buchalski said. “Whether you were talking with her or just sitting there, you were having a good time.”
Father Dennis Glasgow of St. Mary”s Student Parish read a card in which Hilger wrote of her plans to participate in Alternative Spring Break, a program through which students sacrifice their spring break to perform community service.
Glasgow asked Hilger”s family and friends to serve the community as she had and planned to continue doing.
Knapp said Hilger would also have been pleased with the memorial “because her faith was brought up, which was an important part of her life.”
A slide show and an open-microphone session followed the speeches.
Many of Hilger”s friends, some who remembered her from high school and some who only met her in classes last fall, spoke about how Hilger affected their lives.
Susan Montgomery, an undergraduate adviser for chemical engineers, said Hilger”s death helped her realize the value of her friends and family.
“In her death, she has changed my life,” Montgomery said. “You should live this life like it”s your child”s or your friend”s last day. Take the time to appreciate all these special people you have in your life.”
The mood of the memorial was somber during a slide show and the open-microphone session when many people openly cried as they shared memories of Hilger.
But occasionally people laughed, seeming to relate to some of the personal memories brought up by the speakers.