First-year student Qadrey Tolliver, 18, Kempner, Texas, died in an automobile accident Oct. 20 in Texas during fall break.
According to Texas media reports at the time of the accident, the investigation into its cause is ongoing, but officials determined Tolliver lost control of her car as she rounded a curve on a rural highway in Lampasas County and hit a tree, shortly after 7 a.m.
The women’s basketball team gathered in the chapel the afternoon of Oct. 20 to honor Tolliver’s memory, and the wider Bethel community came together in Haury Hall that evening. A chapel service the following morning was dedicated to Tolliver, and a moment of silence was offered at the volleyball game that evening.
“We [printed] 250 bulletins and ran out,” campus pastor Peter Goerzen ’07 said of attendance at the chapel service. “This was Qadrey’s first semester at Bethel, and in her short time on campus she had already established many meaningful relationships.”
Women’s basketball coach Mark Fox said words like “feisty” and “friend” kept coming through in everyone’s reflections.
“I think her lasting effect will be one of galvanizing a team that was already close, but will now be forever bonded together by this one tragic event,” Fox told The Newton Kansan. “And, while we mourn and grieve here for our team and community, we cannot begin to understand the pain that her family is feeling.”
Tolliver was a 2015 graduate of Lampasas High School and had signed to play guard for the Threshers. She is survived by her parents, Shawn and Shirley Manes Tolliver, and brother, Qadir.
President Perry White and Dalene White, the women’s basketball coaches and team and several other students traveled to Copperas Cove, Texas, for Tolliver’s funeral Oct. 28.
Senior Eric Preheim, one of Bethel’s student bloggers, noted in a post after Tolliver’s death how many students, faculty and staff came to the Haury Hall gathering and the chapel service in Tolliver’s memory—standing room only, in both cases.
“[We gathered to join] hands together because when a part of our community hurts, we all hurt,” he wrote.