JSC grieves over death of student

Courtesy of Facebook

Karleigh Baumann

The JSC community said goodbye to Karleigh Baumann in a moving ceremony by Lower Pond Thursday afternoon , May 2, sending commemorative candles floating away from the water’s edge.

Baumann, a Johnson State College junior, died Saturday, April 27, as the result of a two-car accident in Fairfax, Vt.

Baumann was taken to Fletcher Allen Medical Center, where she died from her injuries.

At the time of the accident, she was a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend, JSC student Davis Bodette, who along with the driver of the other car sustained minor injuries in the collision.

Baumann was a 21-year-old creative writing major from Newton, N.J.

Baumann was named to the President’s List and Dean’s List in recognition of her academic achievement.

She served as an assistant editor on the Gihon River Review, JSC’s student-run literary magazine.

According to Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature Jacob White, Baumann was a strongly intuitive writer who never looked to creative writing workshops to tell her how to write.

“She had a wonderful sort of darkness to her writing, and often a bite to it too; that was in itself a kind of part of the intense inner life that she had,” said White.

“I remember very vividly the first short story she wrote just blew me out of my socks. She wrote it in her Introduction to Creative Writing class, and it …was something that still stayed with me. It was a monologue of somebody who was at war. The story does not try to walk and talk like a short story, but instead, through Karleigh’s intuitive pursuit of intense emotional feeling, it burns through into something altogether new and complex.”

White noted that Baumann helped create a more trusting community among the writers and could talk about others’ writing with as much passion as she talked about her own.

White believed that she had the talent to take her skills further in graduate school, and would definitely have continued in a creative and serious career.

“I had the pleasure of working with her in Lit. of the Grotesque,” says Associate Professor of Writing and Literature Tyrone Shaw. “She was extremely bright, motivated, and joyfully engaged in the odd material that makes up that course. Her work was always incisive, always interesting.”

Ashley Josselyn, a JSC student and Baumann’s friend, said, “Karleigh was one of my first friends here at Johnson. We always had a very open and honest relationship, and she would always tell me what I wanted to hear, regardless of whether I wanted to hear it.

“This tragedy has taken a wonderful friend from myself and many others, and I grieve not only for my own loss, but that of her parents and boyfriend as well. Karleigh will be remembered and missed dearly by everyone whose lives she touched.”

Marissa Taylor, another JSC student and friend of Baumann, said, “Karleigh was the hardest-working student I knew. She always spoke her mind and never let anyone tell her who to be. She was confident and encouraging, especially to me. Every photo, every story, and every memory I will hold on to forever.”