KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Western Michigan University students gathered Monday to remember a friend and sorority sister who was killed this past weekend.
Kaylee Gansberg was the victim of a hit-and-run on Michigan Avenue near Howard Street, just half a mile from Fraternity Village. Police say the driver was under the influence of alcohol.
She was beginning her senior year at Western, where she was majoring in art and immersing herself in photography.
Before she became a Bronco, her brothers said they always knew art and photography was her passion, given her bold personality.
“Her life has been an artistic genius. Just amazing,” said Jack Nadolny, one of Kaylee Gansberg’s brothers. “I have this video on my phone. We had little signs for what colleges we were going to. Hers was all beautiful … and mine was just scribbles and ugly drawings. … Clearly, she got the artistic touch and I did not.”
Kaylee Gansberg’s friends told Nadolny and her other brother, Alex Gansberg, that she was dedicated to her artwork, even on a Friday night.
“While all of her friends were like, … ‘Come on we’re trying to go out,’ she was making a painting, because that was just who she was,” Alex Gansberg said. “I just wish I had to see her one more time. And be able to hold her.”
On Monday evening, Nadolny and Alex Gansberg joined with their sister’s sorority, Chi Omega, and fellow students to remember her with flowers, messages of comfort and gratitude, and balloons — painting the afternoon sky with her favorite colors.
Both brothers were touched with how their family grew outside the bloodline.
“She was just amazing. As annoying as we were little brothers, she still loved us,” Alex Gansberg added.
The university’s president in a letter to the community expressed his condolences to the family.
“We extend our condolences to the families and all those close to … Kaylee who are especially experiencing the pain of these tragic losses,” WMU President Edward Montgomery wrote in the letter. “Processing through grief takes time. As a community, let us lean on each other for needed support now and in the weeks and months ahead.”
Montgomery’s letter also talked about the death of Naya Reynolds, a WMU student who was shot and killed in Portage on Friday. Members of the WMU community can call the Sindecuse Health Center at 269.387.1850 to set up an appointment for grief counseling.
The driver accused of hitting and killing Kaylee Gansberg, a 22-year-old from Kalamazoo, is in jail. The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor is awaiting the toxicology report before making a final decision on charges. Until an arraignment is done, the driver’s name is being withheld.