Georgetown Alumna Kathleen Noel Benz passes away in Alaska

Early last night, Provost James O’Donnell notified the campus community that Kathleen Noel Benz (COL ’07) died Saturday in a traffic collision while visiting rural Alaska for a friend’s wedding.

“As an undergraduate, Kathleen was very active in Campus Ministry and served as a retreat leader, liturgical minister and Vice-Regent of the Catholic Daughters,” O’Donnell wrote in the e-mail. “After graduation Kathleen served three years as the Executive Assistant to Associate Provost Marcia Mintz.”

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Benz was riding in a car driven by Anchorage resident Daniel Fairchild when an oncoming truck crossed the center line of the road, causing the fatal collision.

“She brought so much warmth and life to the Provost’s office–whenever I was working at the front desk, she would invariably take a break from her work and come out to sit with me,” Paul Courtney (COL ’11), a student employee in the Provost’s Office, wrote in an e-mail to Vox. “We all loved and adored her. The world needs more people like Kathleen Benz; words cannot even begin to describe the tragedy of her loss. She will be sorely missed.”

A Memorial Mass will be held next week in Kathleen’s memory.

UPDATE (Wednesday, 9 p.m.): The Memorial Mass will be held on next Wednesday, June 9 in Dahlgren Chapel at 4 p.m.

Provost O’Donnell’s full e-mail to the Georgetown community:

Many at Georgetown today will join in mourning the loss of a colleague and friend. Kathleen Noel Benz, C’07 and executive assistant in the Office of the Provost, died Saturday, May 29, in Alaska. We share her family’s stunned sense of loss and grief.

Kathleen had seven years with us. She was attending the Georgetown wedding of one of her classmates this weekend. A group traveling together found themselves facing an oncoming truck crossing the center line on a rural highway; Kathleen was the only fatality in the ensuing accident.

As an undergraduate, Kathleen was very active in Campus Ministry and served as a retreat leader, liturgical minister and Vice-Regent of the Catholic Daughters. After graduation Kathleen served three years as the Executive Assistant to Associate Provost Marcia Mintz.

A funeral is anticipated this weekend in Pennsylvania and a Memorial Mass next week at Georgetown. For information on arrangements, please contact the Provost’s Office at 7-6400. The family has requested any contributions be made in her memory to Georgetown Campus Ministry.

Kathleen was a Hoya of the true Hoya lineage, following her father, Thomas James (SFS ’70, MSFS ’73) and three brothers, Patrick (C’02), Michael (C’04),and Kevin (C’09) who are joined in grief by her mother Margaret and brothers Thomas and Christopher. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.

With best wishes,

Jim O’Donnell

Provost

Paul Courtney’s full e-mail:

Kathleen was a wonderful coworker and friend whom I feel privileged to have gotten to know over the past three years. She brought so much warmth and life to the Provost’s office—whenever I was working at the front desk, she would invariably take a break from her work and come out to sit with me—just to chat, joke, and give me a hard time about spending so much money on Starbucks. Over the course of this past semester, a few of the other student employees and I started coming into the office when we weren’t scheduled to work—just to hang out. Kathleen would always take a break to talk with us and, with a puzzled expression, ask us why were spending so much of our free time in the Provost’s office. I’m not sure if she ever realized this, but it was in large part because of her. We all loved and adored her. The world needs more people like Kathleen Benz; words cannot even begin to describe the tragedy of her loss. She will be sorely missed.

2 Comments on “Georgetown Alumna Kathleen Noel Benz passes away in Alaska

  1. Hey,
    Just wanted to mention this out of respect for Kathleen.
    The title should read “Alumna.”

  2. So sorry and shocked to read of the passing of my namesake. She sounds to have been an wonderful person. Even though we lived on opposite sides of the continental U.S. and have never met, it would have been nice to have done so.

    God’s blessings to her family.

    Kathleen Benz
    Torrance, California

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