Senior student loses battle to brain cancer

Lindsay Libby was a senior English major at Marquette when she lost her battle against cancer 10 days ago. Today, the people who knew her in life will remember Libby after death.

Libby died Feb. 19, almost two years after she was diagnosed with brain tumors, said her roommate Judy Ronau, a College of Arts & Sciences senior.

She is survived by her mother, Diane, her father, Lee, two brothers, 35-year-old Aaron and 25-year-old Duncan, sister, 33-year-old Kerry, and other friends and family.

Diane Libby describes her daughter as vibrant and witty.

"She really cared about people," Diane Libby said. "Probably her biggest interest from high school was in community service. That and her writing and her love of literature."

Libby was a writing-intensive English major. The 22-year-old participated in Circle K and the ski club before she got sick in July 2003.

She sought treatment near her hometown of Seattle and returned to Marquette in January 2004.

Libby remained at school for almost an entire semester before she needed more treatment. She returned this fall but went back to Seattle in October for surgery and aggressive chemotherapy.

"She talked about not if she was going to go back to Marquette but about when she was going to go back to Marquette," her mother said.

Libby returned to school this spring, balancing class with further cancer treatment at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

Her oncologist there remembered her as "smart, funny, articulate, stubborn in her drive to be independent and, of course, unbelievably courageous."

Libby's mother said she had to use a cane during her last months on campus.

Her roommates remember her as a stubbornly independent woman, always bent on self-sufficiency.

Ronau recalled Libby's "uniqueness and how she had a real desire to really be at Marquette."

She said Libby's illness also changed her perspective.

"It's made me reflect a lot about my own life," Ronau said. "It made me grow up a lot."

Jessica Zetlau, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and another one of Libby's roommates, first met her friend sophomore year at Al's Run when they sat by the lakefront and talked. She then grew closer to Libby at monthly movie get-togethers.

Zetlau, Ronau and three other students flew to Seattle to say their final goodbyes at Libby's memorial service at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church Feb. 24.

University Ministry financially assisted three of the students and the Office of the President paid the airfare of the other two students, according to the Rev. Edward Mathie, director of University Ministry.

Mathie said few people on campus knew of Libby's illness although there were little events to commemorate and pray for her.

Diane Libby said a memorial scholarship is being established at Marquette in her daughter's name. Recipients will likely be either English majors or highly involved in community service. In lieu of flowers, people can donate money to the Lindsay Libby Memorial Scholarship, Marquette University, University Advancement, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Mar. 1 2005.