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Tuesday January 16, 2001

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Friends remember UA student who died during winter break

Headline Photo

By Anastasia Ching

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Former RA missed and loved by friends

Grace and beauty.

Friends of Shelly Cole, an elementary education junior who died on Dec. 29, while at a loss for words, chose these two to best encapsulate her short life.

"Shelly would look at things that I thought were ordinary and they would be beautiful to her - she found beauty in everything," said Stacy Schmitt, an elementary education junior.

"She had grace, in every sense of the word," said Jennifer Bazzell, a dramatic theory junior. "She was a dancer, but she also showed grace in the way she interacted with people and the way she carried herself."

Cole, 21, died in the early morning hours of Dec. 29 in her Tucson apartment. Her death was caused by complications from lupus, an auto-immune disease she was diagnosed with seven years ago.

But friends and fellow resident assistants at Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall, where Cole worked from fall 1999 to spring 2000, stressed that she did not let her illness interfere with any aspect of her life.

Ether Al Adnan, a management information systems junior and RA at Kaibab-Huachuca since fall 1999, said that Cole never let it show that she was sick.

"I remember her always with a smile," Adnan said. "I didn't know she was going through all this pain because she always had a smile for everyone."

Erin Goodman, a theater senior and RA at Kaibab-Huachuca with Cole, shared an apartment with her last semester and said that she was a strong individual who never sought pity.

"She didn't want anyone to feel sorry for her," Goodman said. "She never complained, she loved her life."

In addition to her position as a resident assistant, Cole had a passion for children, French, traveling and ballet.

Schmitt, a close friend who had known Cole since her junior year of high school, said that Cole gave everything to anything she did.

"She did things perfectly," Schmitt said. "Whether it was school, where she has always been an honors student, or dancing or being an RA, Shelly was completely devoted."

Friends also admired Cole for her simple ideals and dreams.

"She wanted to be a kindergarten teacher," Bazzell said. "She wanted to get married and have kids - she just wanted to live a normal life."

Cole was born in Flagstaff on Dec. 4, 1979, and grew up in Yuma. She is survived by her father, her mother Sherri, her sister Jodi and her niece Channing.

Although she was only 21, Cole made an impact on everyone she met, Bazzell said.

"I don't know how to sum up someone so extremely special," Bazzell said. "She will be extremely missed."

Goodman returns to the theme of beauty to convey her feelings about Cole.

"She was the most beautiful person I've ever met," she said. "She was strong and confident, and when I was with her, she made me feel like I was the most important person in the world."



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