A memorial service for Richard “Grady” de la Cruz took place Monday night at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel. de la Cruz, a former Marquette student who transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison this year, drowned in Lake Mendota in Madison Aug. 21.
The service included readings and petitions from fellow students, as well as a gospel reading from the Rev. Thomas Manahan from Marquette University High School.
“This setting and all the people – we couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Stef Yordan, a junior in the College of Business Administration at Marquette who also knew Grady in high school. “It is like he is here with us. All of his loved ones are here and those that aren’t are definitely remembering him.”
“Grady was one of the most kind-hearted people you will ever know,” she said. “He was just a person you wanted to be around. He lit up a room wherever he was.”
Attendees at the memorial included more than 60 friends, family members and Marquette faculty.
“I think the memorial service is a way for his friends and family to come together and to have some closure and healing,” said Tom Koester, assistant director of Campus Ministry and director of music.
During this time, the de la Cruz family wishes to remain private; however, Adam Hurrle, a junior in the College of Engineering and close friend of Grady’s, said that the de la Cruz family is very thankful for the outpouring of support from family and friends.
Hurrle said he remembers de la Cruz as “having a lust for life that I will never forget.”
de la Cruz was swimming in Lake Mendota with two other people when he drowned. According to a Madison Fire Department press release, de la Cruz became separated from the group and did not resurface.
de la Cruz graduated from Marquette University High School in 2011 and attended Marquette in the College of Arts & Sciences for two years before transferring to UW-Madison this year. His death comes almost one year after another UW-Madison student drowned in the same lake.