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Loyola mourns Colleen Zirkle, '16

| By Nick Alexopulos
Colleen Zirkle
Colleen Zirkle

With heavy hearts, the Loyola University Maryland community is mourning the loss of Colleen Zirkle, ’16, who died in a weather-related car accident in Colorado on Dec. 26. She was 20 years old.

Zirkle’s uncle was also killed in the crash. Her brother and cousin suffered minor injuries.

The Loyola junior was a biology major and chemistry minor. On campus she served as a resident assistant, was involved in campus ministry, was a DJ for WLOY, and participated in Loyola’s student-run Health Outreach Baltimore program. Zirkle, a native of Derby, Kan., volunteered her time at a shelter for the homeless.

Loyola events:

Sunday, Jan. 11
Mass, opportunity to gather for support
6 p.m.
Alumni Memorial Chapel

Mass, opportunity to gather for support
10 p.m.
Hopkins Court

Tuesday, Jan. 13
Prayer vigil
7:30 p.m.
Alumni Memorial Chapel

Sunday, Jan. 18
Mass in honor of Colleen
6 p.m.
Alumni Memorial Chapel

Funeral information:

Sunday, Jan. 4
Wake: 2-4 p.m.
Rosary: 4 p.m.
Reception: 4:30 p.m.
St. James Catholic Church
Liberty, MO

Monday, Jan. 5
Funeral Mass: 10 a.m.
St. James Catholic Church
Liberty, MO

Internment: 12:30 p.m.
Leavenworth National Cemetery
Leavenworth, KS

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Colleen Zirkle Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Derby Community Foundation. Checks should be made payable to “Derby Community Foundation” with “Zirkle Memorial” in the memo line. Please send checks to:

The Colleen Zirkle Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Derby Community Foundation
PO Box 372
Derby, KS 67037


The following message from Loyola President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., was sent to the Loyola community earlier today (Dec. 29):

Dear Members of the Loyola Community,

I write today with the very sad news that Colleen Zirkle, a member of the Class of 2016, died in a weather-related car crash on Dec. 26. Colleen and her uncle, brother, and cousin were driving from Kansas to Colorado when their vehicle hit ice, veered off the road, and struck a tree. Colleen and her uncle both died in the accident, and her brother and cousin suffered injuries.

Colleen, who lived in Derby, Kansas, was a talented biology major who was also minoring in chemistry. She was loved by many and was actively involved in our campus community, including participating as a resident assistant, a DJ for WLOY, and a member of the crew team. She also volunteered, giving of her time at a shelter for the homeless and through Health Outreach Baltimore. She will be missed by the many students, faculty, and staff who knew and loved her.

Because the University is closed for the break, I realize you are receiving this news away from your Loyola friends and other members of our community who could offer immediate support. I encourage you to seek comfort from one another, including turning to your support systems at home. When you return after the break, I hope you will take advantage of grief counseling and other resources available on campus. For more information or to seek these services, please contact the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, or the student life office. Additional information on the grieving process and available resources are accessible on the Counseling Center's website at loyola.edu/counselingcenter.

Funeral arrangements for Colleen are still being determined, but I understand the funeral will be held in Liberty, Mo.  The Loyola community will also gather to mourn Colleen’s death and celebrate her life with a memorial Mass on campus in January, and we will share those details as soon as they are available.

At this difficult time, I thank you for joining me in prayer for all those who love Colleen so dearly, especially her family.

With deepest sorrow and concern,

The Reverend Brian F. Linnane, S.J.

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