Marriott's life celebrated at crowded vigil

By AbKessler
On October 19, 2012

Two hundred people gathered on Thompson Hall lawn on Thursday afternoon in remembrance of 19-year-old sophomore Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, who went missing on Oct. 9, igniting a case that has rattled the entire UNH campus.

During the service, Bob Marriott, Lizzi's father, encouraged people to spread the light that radiated out of his daughter.

"She's a light bringer - who would turn heartache into hope. Lizzi's light doesn't go away," Bob Marriott said, struggling to hold back tears.

Shards of sunlight spread across the lawn throughout the service, an act of nature that friends and loved ones attributed to Lizzi Marriott's internal glow.

Bob Marriott recalled the joy that his daughter brought to the world, recalling a time that he waded into the ocean with her and watched as she examined dozens of sea creatures, spreading her extensive knowledge to those who surrounded her.

Later, she applied her love for marine biology to a volunteer position at the New England Aquarium, where she spent her summers working and teaching others about aquatic life.

"Her face would light up when someone would learn something they didn't know before," Bob Marriott said.

Lizzi Marriott came to UNH this fall semester to pursue her passion by furthering her studies in marine biology.

According to her father, she was ecstatic to join the community, start classes and begin making friends on campus. However, that time was cut short, and so he encouraged others to "do it for her."

"Reach out to your fellow students, make a connection," he urged.

He also told students to call up their parents and remind them how much they love them, and to continually hug those around you.

"Go hug your parents. Hug each other. In that beautiful authentic way," Rev. Larry Brickner-Wood reiterated.

Near the end of the service, a few UNH students who knew Lizzi Marriott growing up in Westborough, Mass., spoke during the ceremony.

Carli Barnes commented that the two were good friends growing up, but had grown apart in recent years.

"She was the kindest, most vibrant person I have ever met," Barnes said.

Another friend, Ryan Tyler, shared an experience he remembered of Lizzi Marriott, whom he shared a class with in high school. Tyler said that her presence made the class so much more fun.  

"There was a light in her; I can't explain it," Tyler said.

Tyler also recalled the candlelight vigil that was held this past Saturday in Westborough, Mass. for Lizzi Marriott that brought the entire community together.

"Lizzi's spirit was connecting everyone together. Even though she is not here, she is watching over all of us," he said.

At the end of the ceremony,  Lizzi Marriott's voice filled the air as a recording of her singing "Into the West" played.

"Her light keeps shining through us and won't go away," Brickner-Wood said.

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