The Memory of Lost Students Lives On

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Families of students gathered to dedicate a new student memorial garden

For most students, Grebel is a place where friendships are forged, passions are engaged, and where dreams grow. It’s heartbreaking when, for various reasons, dreams are dashed and lights are extinguished.

Some families of students who passed away while living in the Conrad Grebel University College residence gathered on October 25 to dedicate a new student memorial garden. James McCaughey, the father of Jamie McCaughey who died in a car accident while on a coop term in 1996, was grateful for the gathering and shared memories of Jamie’s antics while living in the quad at Grebel. 

Becky Frey succumbed to cancer in 1997 and while she was a student, she often worked in the kitchen.  Food Services Manager Cheri Otterbein shared a memory from kitchen staff with Becky’s mother Sheryl, about Becky making great mixed tapes to play in the kitchen while she worked.

On Family Day in 1991, a tree was planted in memory of Tim Sutherland, who died while riding his bike toward St. Agatha. John Fast, who served as chaplain during this time, noted how difficult these deaths were on the College community. “It’s hard for 18-year-olds to make sense of tragedies like this,” he noted. In grief, services were held in the Chapel and many students attended the funerals.

family in the Grebel memorial gardenDuring the garden dedication service, Marcus Shantz shared some background on each student. He also explained that the trees originally planted in these students memories on the front lawn needed to be taken down as part of the construction project to build the new kitchen. “We reached out to the families when we realized this and committed to building a new student memorial garden near the creek, where future buildings won’t impact the garden.”

Interim Chaplain Jessica Reesor-Rempel led a prayer of dedication and the Chapel Choir ended the service with a hymn. 

A bench, donated by Megan MacDonald (BSc 98), is included in the garden and faces a Pink Magnolia, a Chinese Dogwood, and a Flowering Pear tree.

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