On Wednesday morning, the University of Richmond held a memorial service honoring the lives of two of its graduates and staff members who were killed in a hot air balloon accident in Doswell on Friday evening.
Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Ginny Doyle, 44, and Director of Basketball Operations Natalie Lewis, 24, were also honored during a moment of silence at the university’s commencement exercises on Sunday.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, family, friends and colleagues of Doyle and Lewis gathered at Cannon Memorial Chapel for a standing room only remembrance ceremony. Organizers say the chapel has seats for 750 people, but for the ceremony, all of those seats were filled and more than a hundred others stood in the aisles.
"It's great to see how the players and everyone who works in athletics and the students in the community can come together and memorialize these beautiful women," says Shanae Norman. "You can't even put words to it. They loved their athletes…they love athletics…they love basketball…they love University of Richmond. They are just wonderful."
During the half hour long service the University of Richmond chaplain told the family that the university will be there for them now during their time of sorrow.
After the service the family invited everyone to a reception where the family wanted to thank each person individually for their support during this tough time.
Many say today was a fitting tribute, and a welcome way to share fond memories for two women who were loved by many.
“As alumnae, classmates and colleagues—and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes—Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of our community,” UR President Edward L. Ayers said in a statement on Saturday. “Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many.”
According to the Medical Examiner, Lewis died of acute thermal injury, while Doyle and the pilot, Daniel Kirk, died of blunt-force trauma injuries. All three deaths have been ruled accidental.
The Doyle and Lewis families have asked the university to share the following details of upcoming services for Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis.
Services for Ginny Doyle will be held --
Tuesday, May 27 Life Celebration, 7- 9 p.m. John H. Givnish Funeral Home 10975 Academy Road Philadelphia, PA 19154 (215) 281-0100
Wednesday, May 28 Silent Prayer, 10-11 a.m. Mass, 11 a.m. to noon St. Bede the Venerable Roman Catholic Church 1071 Holland Road Southampton, PA 18966 (215) 357-5720
Cards for Ginny Doyle may be sent: c/o Raymond Doyle 40 Ronald Drive Holland, PA 18966
Services for Natalie Lewis will be held -
Friday, May 16 Wake: 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Amigone Funeral Home 1132 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14209 (716) 883-9200
Saturday, May 17 Funeral Service, 10 a.m. St. Rose of Lima Church 500 Parker Ave. Buffalo, NY 14216 (716) 834-6688
Joint Memorial Service A joint memorial service will be held at the University of Richmond after classes resume in the fall. Details will be made available on the UR Athletics website when plans are finalized.
Gifts in memory of Ginny and Natalie Gifts may be made in memory of Ginny and Natalie. Checks should be payable to the University of Richmond and designated to the Ginny Doyle Memorial Fund or the Natalie Lewis Memorial Fund. Mail to University of Richmond, Spider Club, 28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, Va., 23173.
Cynthia Price Director of Media and Public Relations University of Richmond 804.287.6659