Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Remembering Lorin, Again

The euphoria of Princeton's 500th all-time Ivy League championship seemed to touch everyone connected with the athletic department.

There were celebrations, pictures and social media posts as far as the eye could see around here the last few days. The milestone deserved to be celebrated, and it certainly has been.

It was a time for smiles from anyone and everyone Princeton.


When TigerBlog thinks about Lorin Maurer, still all these years later the first thing he thinks about is her smile.

Had Lorin, who worked as the coordinator of Princeton's Athletic Friends Groups, been in Jadwin the last few days, she most certainly would have been smiling. She always was, it seemed.

The last time TigerBlog ever saw her, it was in Jadwin Gym, 11 years ago today. And the last thing she ever did before she disappeared past TB's door for what neither of them could have fathomed was the last time was smile.

TB can still see it.

And he can still feel the shock, the numbness, the disbelief, the sadness - all combined into one horrific realization - that he felt when the woke up to the news that his colleague and friend had been killed in a plane crash on her way to Buffalo.

It seemed so impossible at the time. As he thinks back to it, he remembers every detail.

It started with a meeting in Jadwin on Feb. 12, 2009. TB remembers that Lorin was late and had to catch her plane, as she was headed to a wedding in Buffalo with her boyfriend. She was barely 30 years old, in love, happy and very, very, very full of life.

TB remembers being surprised to see her walk down the hall past his open door after the meeting, because he knew she was running late. TB glanced up at her from his computer and waved, and she poked her head in the door and didn't say a word. She just smile and kept going.

TB gave it no more thought. He went home, went to bed eventually and woke up the next morning to an email from then-Director of Athletics Gary Walters, who broke the news to the department.

It was too hard to believe that it might be true. TB turned on his TV and just stared at the coverage of the plane crash, which took 51 lives - the 50 people on the plane and one on the ground.

He's not sure how long he stared at the TV, completely unable to process the news. It seemed like forever, though he eventually made it into Jadwin, where he found a building filled with people who were in the same emotional state that he was.

There was also a men's basketball game to be played here that night. TB remembers the news media that came to talk to people about Lorin, and he remembers how public address announcer Bill Bromberg broke down while reading the moment of silence in Lorin's memory.

Now it's 11 years later.

There is a dwindling group of people who still work here who knew Lorin, though a few who were very close to her still do, including Chris Brock, Jon Kurian, Kellie Staples and Kelly Widener, among others. They can tell you much more about their time with Lorin that TB can, but TB did know her well enough to know what kind of person she was.

Lorin Maurer was a kind person. She was helpful, and TB saw her repeatedly doing tasks, like setting up tables and cleaning up events, that weren't in her job description.

She was family oriented. She loved her friends. She had a strong sense of humor and laughed easily.

She was in a really good place in life, with her best times seemingly right in front of her.

And then she was gone, just like that.

Now it's 11 years later, and yet the images of her are still very vivid.

Lorin Maurer. And her smile.

TB has written about her each year since on the anniversary of her death. He does this because she deserves it. He does this because her spirit touched the people with whom she worked, and that spirit will never be forgotten by those who knew her.

For those who didn't know her, you missed out on someone special.

1 comment:

Terry and Scott Maurer said...

Thank you TB - beautifully written. We are sincerely grateful that you remember Lorin on this difficult day. You keep Lorin’s spirit alive and yes her smile is remembered by the many people who knew her!