In Memoriam

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Laurie Suzanne McGill ’02

A picture of Laurie McGill in 2000

Laurie Suzanne McGill ’02, August 22, 2013, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, following a 20-year struggle with lupus. Born in Bangor, Maine, Laurie graduated from Bangor High School with honors. At the encouragement of her father, John R. McGill, she enrolled at Reed. “The smartest and most talented young lady in my high school class, Suzette Gautier [’67], went to Reed, and I never forgot that fact. I thought that Reed would be a nice match for my Laurie.” Despite losing a year of study due to illness, Laurie completed the requirements for a BA in English, and wrote her thesis, “Reading Ophelia: Paradigms and Phenomenology in Hamlet,” with adviser Michael Faletra [English 2001–04, 2007–09, 2010–]. For a year following graduation, she pursued a career in English and then turned to nursing, completing prerequisites for degree work at the University of Maine and earning a BS in nursing from Columbia University. She did additional study in psychiatric nursing and returned to Portland, where she worked until complications from lupus required her move to Charleston, South Carolina, to be cared for by her mother, Lynda R. McGill. In the last year of her life—though challenged by disabilities stemming from and immersed in medical treatment for lupus—Laurie continued to experience enjoyment with cooking and gardening. Recalling how Laurie had looked forward to the beginning of each academic year at Reed, Lynda came to the college in September to scatter some of Laurie’s ashes in the canyon, a place Laurie loved, as she did her years at Reed. “She thrived there,” wrote her father, “and I continue to be impressed by the educational philosophy and accomplishment of Reed’s graduates.” Survivors include her mother; her father and his wife, Marge; her brother, Tim; a loving extended family; and her special friends, Bill and Sam. In responding to the news of Laurie’s death, Jay Dickson [English 1996–99, 2001–] wrote, “She was one of the bravest and toughest people I’ve ever met.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2013

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