Kent State Stark honors departed friends through hour of remembrance

Nathan Havenner

More than 20 people gathered at the Fireplace Lounge in the Campus Center at Kent State’s Stark campus Tuesday, Oct. 28 to remember the lives of four members of the Kent State Stark community who died within four weeks of each another. 

Interfaith Minister Michael Gleason, of Kent State Stark, led the hour-long remembrance ceremony, lighting four candles in memory of Cindy Brand-Garber, Greg Kelly, Rachel Schmidt and Terell Wilson.

“We are trying to provide a venue for the campus to come together, share some grief and tell some stories,” Gleason said. “Having an event like this is quite important to indicate the significance of these lives.”

Amanda Weyant, the Student Accessibility Services coordinator for Kent State Stark, said she felt the ceremony allowed people to take a moment to process what happened and remember the lives of those who were lost.

“It is unusual for us to lose one student during a semester, let alone three students and an employee in such a short amount of time,” Weyant said.

After speaking about the individuals and the influence each had on the Kent Stark community, Gleason asked if anyone present would like to share a few words. Jessica Anderson was the first to speak.

Anderson, manager of the Emporium where Wilson worked, said he was not just a student worker, but a great friend. 

She recalled the pride she felt for Wilson when he received a scholarship to go to Italy. Anderson said she stayed in contact with Wilson while he was abroad.

“Some of us got together to get him a Shutterbug gift card,” Anderson said. “I said, ‘I want you to put these photos in books for your children.’” 

Anderson said the Emporium will never be the same without Wilson.

Tracy Mastri rose to speak about her friend and coworker in the Stark business office, Cindy Brand-Garber. 

Mastri said whenever Brand-Garber would call her, she would always apologize for having to bother her, but Mastri would tell her that the calls were a welcomed break in the middle of the day.

“You could feel her smiling through the phone,” Mastri said.

Clinton Owens, a junior music education major, said he considered Wilson to be his best friend on campus.

Owens said they had a special handshake they would do when they saw each other, and he said he hopes one day he will see his friend again.

Contact Nathan Havenner at [email protected].

Editor’s note: Due to an editor’s error, the name of Terell Wilson was incorrect and the names of Amanda Weyant and Cindy Brand-Garber were misspelled in this article. They have been corrected.