Friends, sisters remember KSU grad

Morgan Day

Hundreds of friends filled the Kiva last night at a memorial service for Abigail Verhelst who died in a car accident on Dec. 30 2006. Verhelst graduated in spring 2006 with a degree in fashion merchandising and was a former member of Alpha Xi Delta sorori

Credit: John Proppe

Nearly 400 friends and sorority sisters gathered to share memories of Abigail Maurine Verhelst, Kent State and Alpha Xi Delta sorority alumna, last night at the Kiva.

Verhelst, 22, of Brighton, Mass., died Dec. 30 in Kent from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Kent State alumna Marie Koly said Verhelst’s favorite past-time was her previous job at Rockne’s, and she loved themed parties because “she always played the part.”

Koly said she’d miss Verhelst’s big, bright smile and contagious laugh.

“(Abby) managed to make every day special,” she said.

Bannon read a letter by Verhelst’s “big sister” Kellee Disbro, who now resides in California. In the letter, Disbro said Verhelst was the closest thing she’s ever had to a real blood sister.

“Every tear shed just breaks me more and more,” Disbro wrote. “I am not ready to accept my ‘little’ is gone.”

Disbro recalled the immediate awe she felt the first day she met Verhelst. She said Verhelst was kind, and always put others first.

“She never forgot a birthday or any other event that was important to someone’s life,” she wrote.

Emily Ciotoli, junior finance major and Verhelst’s “little sister,” said Verhelst would do anything for anyone. She said Verhelst was a role model, leader, daughter, sister and friend.

“She never took any second for granted,” she said. “She lived every second the way she should’ve.”

Ciotoli said she remembered how Verhelst loved wearing stilettos, and her hair always looked like it took hours to do. If Ciotoli was having a bad day, it wasn’t unusual for Verhelst to leave cards for her to find.

Kate Metzger, ’05 graduate, said she remembers Verhelst teasing her about the guys she dated and how Verhelst always tried to get her to go out at any hour of the day or night.

“(Abby) always encouraged me to share a moment, take a breath, live life to the fullest,” Metzger said.

Contact safety reporter Morgan Day at [email protected].