A memorial service for Becky DeNardis was held on the Chapel Quadrangle Friday evening.
DeNardis died in a car accident returning from a spring break camping trip. The service was attended by around 100 people, most of whom were friends and classmates. Attendees shared their memories of DeNardis and a few chose to read poems about her aloud or performed songs dedicated to her memory. Friends, acquaintances and professors remembered her as an intellectually gifted and profoundly empathetic young woman with a passion for technology and penchant for pranks. Several speakers noted that DeNardis was strongly conscious of her potential to create change in the world.
“She seemed acutely aware of her presence in the world and the potential she had for influencing others,” senior Susan Hilbig said at the service. “And she was using that to change us all.”
The service commenced with opening remarks from senior Rhyne King, co-president of Round Table Selective Living Group of which DeNardis was a member.
Owen Astrachan, director of undergraduate studies in the computer science department, remembered DeNardis as a student who would help struggling peers.
“Every one of the students I spoke with talked about Becky’s amazing ability to care deeply and to follow through with energy and compassion,” Astrachan said. “She helped so many of her friends.”
Samhita Noone, Trinity '13, and senior Fei Gao, close friends of DeNardis, dubbed their friendship triad “Samfecky” because one would never been seen without the other two.
Gao recalled meeting DeNardis at a Round Table rush event and bonding with her over a three-legged race.
Noone, DeNardis' former roommate, said DeNardis had a fondness for pranks and recalled how she had once hid resumes all around their dorm room—even one in Noone’s water bottle.
“We all have a little of Becky in us, and so we’ll always be Samfecky,” Gao said.
Noone expressed the inadequacy of using words to portray DeNardis.
“No matter what I say here, I’m implicitly making a decision to exclude certain aspects about Becky,” Noone said. “But she was a whole person. That’s what she taught me—that we are all whole people.”
Several pieces of music and poetry dedicated to DeNardis were performed at the service. Duke Chorale sang two pieces—“Sing Me to Heaven” by Daniel Gawthrop and “Danny Boy” by Frederic Weatherly, and members of Round Table performed “Night Still Comes” by Neko Case, one of DeNardis’ favorite songs. Junior Jonathan Hill-Rorie and senior Victoria Lang sang “Who Knew” by Pink, and Bernard Jiang, Trinity ’13, read a poem he wrote about Denardis.
After the official service, the floor was opened to anyone who wanted to share a memory about DeNardis. Several friends and acquaintances shared memories about DeNardis’ consideration for others and empathetic nature, including members of her soccer team from high school and friends who accompanied her on the spring break trip.
“Sometimes, we think we have a lot of friends, but there aren’t a lot that we can open up to about our anxieties,” said junior Nonie Arora, who went on the camping trip with DeNardis. “Becky was one of the few people I was able to share things with.”