Students remembered at service

Adriane Hardin

Phi Mu sorority members held single pink carnations and filed two by two toward the stage on Friday night.

As they walked, the soft strumming of a guitar could be heard in the background.

“I see you dancing on the stage of memory,” Phi Mu alumna Heather Green sang. “Sister, I miss you.”

As Green sang, some of the Phi Mu members wiped away tears and others held a tight grip onto the hands of another sister.

Each person dropped their carnation into one of three large urns that represented the lives of freshmen Rachel Blevins, Katie Jeter and Rachel Cate.

More than 500 students, faculty and administrators came to a memorial service for the three women, who died on Feb. 5 in a car wreck on Interstate 65.

Phi Mu members, President Gary Ransdell and friends of Cate, Jeter and Blevins spoke during the service. Music and a slideshow were also part of the program.

“You can tell that these young ladies touched many lives,” said Charley Pride, student activities and organizations coordinator. “I don’t think they realized how many lives they truly touched.”

Meredith Lopez, a freshman from Woodridge,Va., had the crowd chuckling when she shared a top 10 list of experiences she and Cate had shared as roommates in McCormack Hall.

The list included tales of 3 a.m. floor meetings and chaotic rushes to 8 a.m. classes.

“Rachel Cate was my hero and always will be,” Lopez said.

Bowling Green freshmen Stephanie Duncan and Gef Cherwak went to high school with Blevins.

Duncan said Blevins managed to stay in touch with her group of friends from high school that she called the “Wolfpack.”

She read an e-mail that Blevins had sent to the group. In the message, Blevins asked a girl attending Vanderbilt University, “Do you have a Phi Mu? If so you must be one.”

Kristin Kullman, a Bowling Green sophomore and Jeter’s Phi Mu big sister, chuckled as she shared stories of her time with Jeter during rush and other sorority functions.

She said the Feb. 5 accident taught her to cherish those around her and to love life, just as Jeter did.

Jeter had written, “I love my life,” in an e-mail message she sent to her parents two days before she died.

Ransdell said those four words should serve as a reminder of how Jeter, Cate and Blevins led their lives.

“I have a sense that those same feelings could be expressed by Rachel and Rachel,” Ransdell said. “In some odd way I guess I feel some sense of warmth to know that this university had such a prominent role in the lives of these three young ladies.”

Florence junior Katie Burcham, Phi Mu chapter vice president, said she was proud of the Phi Mu members for helping each other grieve and heal after the accident.

“These three sisters were woven into the fabric of our lives and their loss has left holes in the fabric that will never be filled …” Burcham said. “The best and most beautiful quilts are created from the most ragged scraps. So ladies, bind yourselves together.”

Phi Mu president Ashley McCarty, a Greenville junior, said binding together is something the women have been doing very well since the accident.

“Our bond of sisterhood has never been stronger,” McCarty said.

Sandy Douglass, former Phi Mu chapter adviser, said the women supported each other, and in doing so behaved like “true Phi Mu ladies.”

Family members of Cate, Jeter and Blevins attended the service.

“We appreciated this wonderful service,” Katie Jeter’s mother, Mamie Jeter, said.

Reach Adriane Hardin at [email protected]