By Leah Sander
WINONA LAKE — Grace College student Bethany Nesbitt has been remembered for her faith and compassion.
The college held a memorial service for Nesbitt on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center on campus after she was found dead in her dorm room at Westminster Hall on Friday, Oct. 30.
An autopsy found that Nesbitt, 20, died of a pulmonary embolism (blood clot). The COVID-19 she was suffering from also contributed to her death.
Speakers at Thursday’s service at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center included Grace President Dr. Bill Katip, Dean of Chapel Brent Mencarelli and several students.
“This is a time of sadness for us, but our sadness is not without hope,” said Katip. “Bethany was a precious gift from God. The Lord is not far from us as we face this sudden loss. He’s here; He’s with us right here. And as we speak, Bethany is now in the presence of her Savior. She’s in the presence of a living God.”
Katip talked about how Bethany visited with people in nursing homes through the ministry she led called Old School Cafe. She also worked in an after-school Bible club called Sisters Mentoring with a Mission, helping first and second-grade girls.
Student Katherine Lade shared about her friendship with Nesbitt, which started during their freshman year.
“You were always there to listen, sit with me through everything and offer sound advice,” Lade said. “You didn’t expect anything in return; that’s just who you were.”
Director of Residence Life Emily Brenneman read a letter from Nesbitt’s parents Steve and Brenda Nesbitt. They did not attend but watched the service remotely.
They thanked Grace for its effect on the lives of Bethany and two of their other daughters who attended Grace. They noted Bethany loved the school enough that she chose to stay there even after she developed COVID-19.
“Weighing benefit and risk is part of all our lives and then having prayed we have made the best choice of which we are capable, we submit the uncontrollable elements into the hands of a God Who is always compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love,” the Nesbitts said.
The Nesbitts also reiterated in the letter to students that they should follow procedures for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and not going out when sick.