First year Saint Mary’s student Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, described by loved ones as having a heart for service, died suddenly Friday afternoon. She was 19.
Seeberg, originally from Northbrook, Ill., was a resident of McCandless Hall and an intended nursing major at the College.
Friends say Seeberg was committed to helping others and always had a smile on her face.
Kalyn Fetta, a sophomore at Notre Dame who attended high school with Seeberg, said she had a “contagious joy.”
Fetta recalled spending time at a pool with Seeberg one summer, when Seeberg decided the girls were wasting their day. She suggested they cook dinner for about 40 at a soup kitchen nearby.
“Right then, she insisted we get up, grocery shop and start cooking — and we followed through,” Fetta said.
Fetta and Seeberg also attended a Habitat for Humanity service trip in Michigan together as well as a Kairos religious retreat.
“I always saw Lizzy giving herself to others with a smile on her face,” Fetta said. “I will always remember all she taught me and the happiness she brought to so many people.”
Fr. Chris Devron, president of Christ the King high school in Chicago, said Seeberg was integral in raising money for the Jesuit high school that sponsors students on Chicago’s west side who would otherwise not have access to a college preparatory education.
Christ the King opened in August of 2008 and follows the Cristo Rey model, which makes it affordable for students from low-income backgrounds to matriculate from the small, Catholic high school.
Devron said when Seeberg heard Christ the King would open in Chicago, she organized several fundraising and service projects to benefit the school, working with her parish youth group to “adopt” Christ the King.
“Lizzy had a real sense that God had blessed her, and she wanted to give back to those who were not fortunate to have equal access to a solid education,” Devron said. “For her youthful age, she had a mature awareness about injustice, and wanted to make the world a better place.”
Seeberg visited Christ the King several times, and made and sold picture frames to raise money.
“Our students were blessed to benefit from her quiet but strong efforts on their behalf, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know such a special young woman,” Devron said.
Caitie Young, a junior at Notre Dame who also attended high school with Seeberg, said the 19-year-old had a great sense of humor.
“I have countless memories of us driving around, wasting gas and singing Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs together,” Young said. “I miss her terribly.”
When Young started as a freshman at Notre Dame, Seeberg was still a senior in high school and would mail Young the police blotter from their hometown paper.
“It would always make me laugh,” Young said.
The Saint Mary’s community will commemorate Seeberg’s life with a memorial service at 5 p.m. today in Regina Hall Chapel.
“On behalf of everyone at Saint Mary’s College, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of our student,” College president Carol Ann Mooney said. “Our prayers are with them during this difficult time.”
Seeberg’s visitation is Thursday at N.H. Scott & Hanekamp Funeral Home, located at 1240 Waukegan Road in Glenview, Ill. from 4 to 9 p.m. The Funeral Mass is at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Norbert Church, located at 1809 Walters Ave. in Northbrook, Ill.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ the King Jesuit College Prep at www.ctkjesuit.org or Erika’s Lighthouse at www.erikaslighthouse.org
Ashley Charnley contributed to this report.