As hundreds of mourners stood quietly outside of the Our Lady of Victory church in Floral Park, N.Y., on the morning of July 19, thunder rolled and rain began to fall, but no one moved. Minutes later, when hundreds more filed out of the church to pay their final respects to Jamie and Paige Malone, the sun shone brightly.
"They just stood there and the rain didn't mean anything," said Jessie Murray, a 2010 University of Richmond graduate and close friend of Jamie's.
"When I walked out of the church and saw 100 feet back, people just standing there, it went to show how much the community and every extended community was affected."
The communities that Jamie, Westhampton College '10, and Paige, WC '12, touched, from Richmond to Long Island, reeled after the young women were killed during a car accident on the Meadowbrook Parkway on July 15. They were on their way to work at Camp Anchor, a summer camp for disabled children and adults, in Lido Beach, N.Y.
At Richmond, Jamie majored in sociology and minored in elementary education. She worked as a student teacher last semester and had landed a teaching job at Maybeury Elementary School in Henrico for this fall.
"Jamie loved kids and she loved teaching and she had such an energy about teaching that I've never seen," Murray said. "I've never seen anyone who loved what they do so much."
That same energy carried over to her social life and her friends said her infectious personality just made people smile.
"Wherever she was, any room that she walked into, she was always radiating with energy," Jess Clough, WC '10, said. "She made everybody seem so comfortable.
"She would always say 'OK, let's play a game,' or 'I have an idea, let's play a game.' She just always wanted everyone to have a great time. ... She was just such a loving, caring person, and you can say that about a lot of people, but Jamie was that times 100."
The sisters were both members of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, which created just one more of many close bonds between Jamie and Paige, their friends said.
"I remember when Paige was going through rush," said McCall Perry, WC '10. "Jamie was so supportive of her going to whichever sorority she wanted and just the fact that Paige picked [Kappa Alpha Theta] I thought was indicative of their relationship."
As any siblings, the two would sometimes argue over who got to drive the car, but their friends said that they were always there for one another.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
"One time we had a handstand contest in our room and Paige fell right on her back and twisted her neck," said Katherine Pickel, WC '12, one of Paige's closest friends. "All she wanted was Jamie, and amazingly enough as soon as we called [Jamie], five minutes later there was a knock on our door. ... Paige's relationship with Jamie was one that everyone admired."
Like Jamie, Paige loved Richmond and showed it with her school spirit and involvement on campus, Pickel said.
"For her, it was like a second home," Pickel said. "She always went to football games and basketball games to support the school ... While at Richmond, she always had a smile on her face."
Another friend, Morgan O'Neil, WC '12, recalled her freshman year, when Paige's comfort level at Richmond made her unusual.
"As a nervous freshman, I was immediately drawn to her confident demeanor and huge smile," O'Neil said. "Paige didn't like being alone, she always wanted to surround herself with the friends she loved."
At the funeral in Floral Park, the strong Richmond presence reflected the Malone families close ties to the University. Both of the other Malone children, Daphne, WC '06, and Terence, RC '08, graduated from Richmond.
"I saw everyone from freshmen at Richmond to people who graduated '05-'06," Murray said. President Ed Ayers and director of student activities Alison Keller also travelled to Floral Park for the funeral.
"I was absolutely blown away by [it]," Perry said of the Richmond presence at the funeral. "I think it just says a lot about the Richmond community and how tight knit it is, and the type of people that go to Richmond that were willing to travel such long distances to show their support for Jamie and Paige."
Immediately following the accident, representatives from Camp Anchor set up a building fund in memory of Jamie and Paige, and donations came in so quickly that within days, it reached its goal. As a result, a scholarship fund was established at Richmond for additional donations.
As of early this week, representatives from the Office of Advancement said that more than 250 donors have given more than $30,000 to the fund, and donations continue to come in daily.
A prayer service was also held on campus at the same time as the funeral, but because the University community was scattered across the world during the summer, another service was planned for this Saturday.
"After the on campus service and the mass up at Floral Park, it was clear that we needed to do something to remember and celebrate Jamie and Paige after students returned," the Rev. Craig Kocher said. "We have been in close contact with the Malone family and close friends of Jamie and Paige to craft something that would honor and celebrate their lives."
The service will begin at 2:30 p.m., and likely last for about 90 minutes, Kocher said. It will be held in the Cannon Memorial Chapel, with overflow seating available in Camp Concert Hall, where live video of the service will be played. A reception will follow in the Alice Haynes Room.
Kocher said the service would include multiple student speakers and student led musical pieces. He also said that he and Ayers would speak.
At the reception, videos with pictures and memories of Jamie and Paige will play, and there will be open journals for students and others to write down their feelings for the Malone family, who will take the journals following the reception.
"Of course this is incredibly sad and there's a lot of tragedy to it" Kocher said. "That will be a part of it, but we also hope it's an opportunity to celebrate, for the community to be together, and for their to be a sense of gratitude for who Jamie and Paige were."
Kocher said that the service was open to all, even those who never knew Jamie and Paige.
"Especially for first year students, this is a sign of the strength of the University of Richmond community," Kocher said. "They're a part of that community now, and if they'd like to attend as members of a community, they would be welcome.
"This service is not trying to bring closure to anything," Kocher said. "The pain of this loss in some sense will never go away, and so this is one step in coming to terms with that grief."
Perry, Murray and Clough are three of many alumni expected to attend Saturday's service, and their descriptions of the sisters helps to explain why this tragedy has resonated so much for members of the University community.
"They just loved Richmond," Clough said of Jamie and Paige. "It's hard to put into words just how much they were passionate about the school. They were involved in all the campus [activities] but it was more than that. ... They honestly had the kind of spirit and the kind of qualities that, after they're gone from this Earth...you just want to feel inspired to live the way they did."
Contact Staff writer Reilly Moore at email@example.com.
Support independent student media
You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.Donate Now