Family and friends were heartbroken this week when they were notified of the Feb. 3 death of 2001 University graduate Emily Gruber. Gruber graduated from the Residential College last April with degrees in Chinese and political science.
“She”s my star She got a lot out of Ann Arbor,” said her father, Walter Gruber.
Gruber apparently died from asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a faulty heater in her apartment in Shanghai. She had been living there since last summer, teaching English in a training school.
Her close friends said she was in love with China, and wanted to extend her stay for another year. They said this was because of a love with the Chinese language she had developed in college.
“Once she decided to learn Chinese, she worked at it so hard. She always carried around a big pile of flashcards,” said friend Bill Abresch, who graduated with Gruber.
While here at the University, Gruber was an active member of the RC. She also worked in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and the China Data Center. Close friends who had known Gruber since she was a freshman remembered her as a very smart, sensitive person who loved to have fun, especially with her friends.
“She was the first person I met when I came to college. She was one of the funniest people I ever met. … She was a very friend-based person,” said friend Kelly Szott, who also graduated last year.
“She had a good sense of when her friends needed support. She was very supportive when my sister died last summer,” said fifth year RC student Jenny Livesay.
While living in Shanghai, Gruber was with her long-time boyfriend Zachary Knowlton. Knowlton is still in China waiting until a death certificate is issued and Gruber”s body can be brought back to the United States. Knowlton was also a 2001 University graduate. The two first met in the summer of 1999 when they were both living in Stevens Co-op, a cooperative housing center on South Forest Avenue.
Gruber, originally from Midland, is survived by parents Diane and Walter, and a brother Walter. A funeral will be held at the Wilson Miller Funeral Home in Midland at a date yet to be determined.