Maggie was born August 23, 1980, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and lived in this area all her life. She attended Haverhill Elementary School in Portage, and Cooper Elementary School in Plainwell. Maggie attended Plainwell Middle School and graduated from Plainwell High School in 1998. At the time of her death, she was a sophomore at Kalamazoo College.
Accomplished on the French horn, she played in the high school marching and symphonic band, and in the Kalamazoo College Symphonic band. She played basketball in high school and loved to play golf in the summer. She was a proud member of the Kalamazoo College women’s golf team. She was hard working and determined at everything she tried.
The summer of 1999 she was proud of her work in construction with her Uncle Pete. Her interests were varied, including stamp and insect collections, classical music, playing the piano, a love of the outdoors and outdoor photography.
She was a loving daughter and her family remembers her as a good friend and confidant to many people, and was proud to see her blossom into a mature person with a loving heart. Maggie was a member of St. Augustine Cathedral and had completed confirmation in the spring of 1999.
Her family includes her parents and their spouses, Rick and Martha, and Bob and Sandi; her brother, Rob; her grandmothers, Luzia, Corinne, and Josephine; numerous aunts and uncles, many cousins and a special friend, Sarah.
Maggie died on October 18, 1999, in Kalamazoo and was buried from the Rupert, Durham, Marshall and Gren Funeral Home in Plainwell.
Her funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, October 22, 1999, and she was buried in a family plot at West Cooper Cemetery.
Since the early morning hours of October 18, 1999, Maggie’s family has struggled to understand what happened to her and why it happened.
We have talked to the police department, her friends and teachers at Kalamazoo College, and read the reports of the events leading to that horrendous, fateful moment when another person took her life. We still struggle with the basic questions of “Why did this happen to her/us?” and “Why did this terrible thing happen to a good person like her?”
We were all naïve to believe that because we loved her and protected her so much that she was safe from violence. Because this has happened to our Maggie, we know that it can happen to any of us, in any family, in any town, from any background, at any time. It does not mean that we have to live in fear of violence but that we must do something to decrease violence where we live.
Before Maggie died, we felt, like most people do, that this would never happen to us or our family. But now we are connected to others who have lost loved ones to violence and we know we must try and do something about it.
Our plea is that you explore three particular facets of violence in light of Maggie’s death and see what you can do as individuals and families to change the prevalence of this violence in our society. We can’t save Maggie now, but violence can be prevented!
UPDATE: August 4, 2015
After a few years of reflection on what happened to Maggie, it became apparent to us that a lack of knowledge of the nature of healthy relationships was a major factor in what happened to her. Most significantly, his lack of understanding of what love is, and how to show trust and respect in a healthy relationship is apparent in retrospection. Maggie, her family and friends all missed the signs of danger that were there to see. Verbal and emotional abuse can be significant and harmful, and victims of abuse report its effects can be worse than physical abuse. And sadly, it can be accepted by the victim, as a sign of the abuser’s love in teen dating relationships. Or it can be accepted as part of the ups and downs of a relationship that teens think “everyone” experiences. Or, as in Maggie’s case, it can be accepted as a sign of the immaturity of the partner that might be changed in the future.
In reality these abusive behaviors are signs of unhealthy and abusive relationships. Our work, in Maggie’s memory, now focuses on helping young people learn about the components of healthy relationships and the warning signs of dating abuse.