Notre Dame community remembers Edward Lim
Courtney Becker | Thursday, April 6, 2017
Edward Lim “loved three things above all else,” according to junior Brian Celeste, Lim’s roommate during his sophomore year.
“He loved his friends and he loved music and he loved philosophy,” Celeste said. “The people he did get close to, he got very, very close to, and he cared very deeply about those people.”
Lim died Friday at his home in Cincinnati. Although Lim was not enrolled at the University during the 2016-2017 academic year, Celeste said Lim had still significantly impacted him during his time at Notre Dame.
“He became, really, my first friend that I had since coming to Notre Dame,” he said. “ … Once we became roommates, that’s when I started really discovering all these things about him and how he would constantly bounce his ideas off people — and since I was with him most of the time, I was the one who would hear most of his ideas.”
Junior Joe Raabe, who met Lim in high school as a member of the rowing team, said Lim “was respected and well liked by everyone who knew him.”
“One day after practice, one of the coaches’ boats became untied and was floating away,” Raabe said in an email. “We had been out in the heavy rain and 35-degree weather for at least two hours. Edward jumped in the river and dragged the boat back to shore. That was Edward. He lived his life with the utmost integrity. He was a true friend.”
Junior Mary Mecca, Lim’s girlfriend of over a year, said Lim was a great listener as a friend.
“He highly valued authenticity, and he was always searching — in everything he did,” she said. “ … He would ask you a question and then just listen because he was searching for information on who you were and what sort of a person you could be, and he was very inspirational in that regard.”
Lim found a family at Notre Dame through the University’s Chorale, which Celeste said became Lim’s passion.
“Chorale was a huge part of his life,” he said. “I don’t think he missed a single rehearsal for, probably, three straight semesters. He just absolutely loved being there, he loved trying to help out everyone in Chorale, he loved talking about Chorale when we weren’t at Chorale [and] he just loved everything about it.”
Senior Julia Oksasoglu, the president of Notre Dame Chorale, said Lim gave as much to Chorale as he gained from the group.
“At the end of Edward’s freshman year in Chorale, he won the ‘Spirit of Chorale’ award, which is an award that’s given by the seniors,” she said. “I think that just goes to show how much of an impact Edward had on every single person in Chorale, from freshmen all the way up to seniors, and how much his devotion was felt and noticed by everyone.”
Lim’s enthusiasm for Chorale, Mecca said, stemmed from his passion for music — particularly guitar.
“He was an extreme introvert, and he expressed himself primarily through music — especially in playing guitar,” she said. “While he was in high school, one of his friends loaned him a guitar for a couple of years, and he taught himself to start playing.”
This natural talent for guitar, Oksasoglu said, was on full display when the Chorale encountered a blues band during a group trip to Nashville.
“Edward just gets onstage and starts playing with them,” she said. “[He] starts playing blues guitar, and they’d all just mention a song and he knows it and starts playing, and all of us were just in awe sitting there watching Edward thrive onstage. … It was just such a great moment.”
During a memorial Mass for Lim in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Wednesday, Fr. Sean McGraw recounted a story of Lim building a guitar out of a lunchbox he came across through a conversation he struck up with a homeless man in his hometown.
“He made a guitar out of this lunchbox,” he said. “Which is a beautiful image of something that is old — maybe even something that had been thrown away — something that was maybe empty, but he actually saw beauty. He saw possibility, and he brought it to life in music. Today, we thank God for the gift of Edward.”
Lim’s friends will honor him with another memorial service from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday by playing music, sharing stories and eating rice — Lim’s favorite food — next to the lake outside of Carroll Hall.
“Even if Edward wasn’t here during this school year, that doesn’t mean that he was any tiny, infinitesimal percent less a part of the Notre Dame community and Notre Dame family,” Oksasoglu said. “ … This is all really hard to process, and it’s hard to not have him here with us, but I’m unendingly grateful for the time that I did get to spend with him.”