Sascha Franzel, a student at Colorado State University who had been planning to become a pediatric surgeon, died Sep. 10 at 19. Her death, possibly related to a severe asthma attack and inhaler use, was mourned by hundreds at the university’s Fort Collins campus.
At a candlelight vigil two days later attended by more than 200, Franzel was described as a "singer, skier and sushi eater with an infectious laugh and onesie pajamas."
"Our hearts are broken, there’s no doubt," said her father, David. "We’re all going to miss her terribly. She was somebody you would have liked to have known." Her parents said they hugged every person who attended the funeral because that’s what she would have wanted them to do.
"She was closest friends with everyone she’d meet," said her roommate, Rebecca Schwartz.
“I met Sascha freshman year,” said junior English major Kevin Bartz. “We were walking along trying to find something to do when she found out I’d done theater. She kept bugging me to sing with her.”
"She was full of life. She was full of love," said Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik of the Chabad Jewish Center of Northern Colorado, who called her part of his family. Franzel was on the board of the Chabad Jewish Student Organization at CSU. "We’re going to make sure that her memory and legacy of joy and of embracing life is going to continue." Along with Chabad, Franzel was active in the CSU campus Hillel and other charitable activities.
As a high school student in Hawaii, where she was born and raised, she collected 1,000 Hawaiian shirts to send to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
News media in Hawaii focused on Franzel’s plan to become a plastic surgeon to help children with facial birth defects, a desire she developed after a high school volunteer project in a local hospital.
Franzel’s mother, Sonia, lost her mother five months ago. "And you know the rabbi here said he was trying to understand if there was a connection between the two deaths, and he said your mom died first, so that she could be in heaven to receive Sascha so that Sascha wouldn’t have to be alone," Sonia Franzel said.
The Eulogizer highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Write to the Eulogizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.