May 3, 1999

Memorial honors deceased UM-St. Louisans

Annual service recalls ten no longer among us

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant

Justin Patterson, 5, attends Thursday's memorial service at the South Campus Residence Hall Chapel, honoring his late mother Tracy Patterson, and nine other UM-St. Louisans who passed away during this school year.
photo by Stephanie Platt

A special service was held on Wednesday in memory of ten UM-St. Louis students, faculty, and staff members who died during the last year.

About a dozen family members, friends, and colleagues gathered in the South Campus Residence Hall Chapel to remember their loved ones through the memorial service, which was sponsored by Campus Ministries.

"It's always important to process grief," said Dennis Chitwood, the director of Campus Ministries. "The more you talk and the more you memorialize, the easier it is to get through the grieving process. This year we had a small gathering, but for those who were there, I think it helped."

Members of several different campus religious organizations helped lead the service by reading scripture, leading hymns, playing music, and praying.

The service included a candle-lighting ceremony in honor of the ten. A candle was lit for each of the deceased as their names were read aloud. Family members and friends were encouraged to come forward and light a candle or to say a few words in tribute.

Connie Patterson was the first person to speak. Her daughter Tracey died after a car collision on April 11, 1998. Patterson said her daughter was a typical college student, a member of the Delta Zeta sorority who was trying to decide what she wanted to major in. Eventually, Tracey transferred from UM-St. Louis to the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

"Tracey lived each day as if it were her last," Patterson said. "She lived a very full life in a very short amount of time."

Patterson said that the ordeal has been difficult for Tracey's five-year-old son Justin. He asks questions all the time, she said, as he tries to understand what happened to his mother.

Dr. Richard Resh, a history professor at UM-St. Louis, was remembered by John Macke, a former student.

"I mostly knew Dr. Resh as a professor, but he was a big help to me," Macke said. "He gave many students' history careers a big boost through his guidance and counseling."

Resh died earlier this year at the age of 61, after battling lymphatic cancer.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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