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Freshman killed in head-on collision

Oct. 24, 2000

Student, driver of other vehicle die at scene of wreck

By KIM APPEL

Reporter

A memorial service for Jillian McFadden, an Omaha, Neb., freshman, will be held at 9 p.m. Wednesday in Miller Chapel.

McFadden was killed at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday on U.S. Highway 84 near Teague when the 1996 Nissan pickup she was driving collided head-on with a 1993 Mercedes Benz.

McFadden and the driver of the Mercedes, Juana Garcia of Fairfield, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Dr. Todd Lake, dean of chapel, said McFadden was traveling to Houston to spend fall break with her uncle.

Lake said residents and staff members of South Russell Residence Hall, where McFadden lived, gathered Sunday night for a time of sharing and prayer.

He said the gathering was the first time many of the students had heard of McFadden's death. The mood was sorrowful, but the joy McFadden had brought to those around her was evident in the room, Lake said.

'There was a lightness in the air because Jillian was such a delightful young woman,' Lake said. 'She was the happy member of a losing intramural volleyball team and the organizer of a talent show. This was someone who had a consistent Christian life.'

South Russell resident assistants said McFadden's cheerful spirit and smile were unforgettable.

'She smiled all the time,' said Kristin Gassiott, a Midland junior and South Russell RA. 'She just had a real sweet spirit.'

Gassiott said McFadden was involved in the Baylor Executive Association of Residents and the Catholic Student Association.

Gassiott also described McFadden as family-oriented.

'Her little sister spent the weekend in the dorm for Parents Weekend,' Gassiott said. 'She was just a really good sister, showing her sister around and helping her out.'

Amanda Gunter, a Midland junior and South Russell RA, said McFadden was devoted to the BEAR.

'She was a real leader,' Gunter said. 'At the BEAR talent show, her committee really didn't do much. [But] she took over and made things happen -- she did a great job. She excelled at everything.'

Gassiott said she estimated that 50 to 60 people attended Sunday's gathering. She said the large attendance was evidence of the impact McFadden's smile had on those around her.

'I thought it would just affect a few people,' Gassiott said, 'but it has really affected everyone -- it just hit so close to home. The hall is not going to be the same.'

A group of McFadden's friends and representatives from Baylor traveled Monday to Omaha for the wake and funeral service. The service will be held today at 11:30 a.m. at St. Joan of Arc Church.