Kelly Ann Jones, a freshman studying marine science and biology, died Sunday, but the cause of death is unknown. She was 19.
Jones, who was from Shawnee, Kan., was a brilliant young woman who cared deeply about people and loved the little things in life, close friends said.
Although Jones was studying marine science, friends said she was planning to switch to the School of Business, but was also interested in psychology because she loved people.
Jones graduated from Mill Valley High School in 2007 after transferring from Bishop Miege, where she played volleyball and ran track. Friends at the University of Miami described her as active, but clumsy – climbing trees while laughing at the same time.
She traveled to 22 countries – mostly in Europe – with family and on school trips during high school. She was also studying to become fluent in Spanish, and roommate Hillary Weiss remembers her practicing frequently – even singing songs in Spanish to learn accents.
Besides traveling, Jones was also interested in music, dancing, spending time with friends, playing Guitar Hero and Halo and scuba diving. Although her favorite spot was the tables on the patio at Hecht Residential College, friends said she spent a lot of time at the arboretum because she loved relaxing, pretty places.
Jones was known to be a trustworthy, responsible person, whose friends would often go to her for help or advice. She worked hard in school to achieve a high GPA and was a member of an honors society.
Jones worked at Miami’s Best Pizza, located north of the intersection at U.S. 1 and Red Road, and co-workers said she was always friendly, in good spirits and very responsible. Crista Sacco, a Miami’s Best Pizza employee, said she would never let anyone down, making sure to take care of what needed to be done in the work environment.
Friends and family hosted a celebration of Jones’ life Tuesday night in front of Hecht. Approximately 400 people attended, including President Donna E. Shalala and Kelly’s parents, who donated $500 to the academic initiatives program on the seventh floor of McDonald tower in Hecht – Kelly’s floor.
“She was one of the best hearted people that I ever met,” Weiss said. “Kelly would have wanted us all to celebrate her life, and keep moving.”
Jones is survived by her parents, Catherine and Jerry, her brother Tim, who is a Kansas State alumnus, her grandmother Doris C. Meyer of Palm Coast, Florida, and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. Her funeral is Saturday morning in Shawnee, Kan.
To view Jones’ guest book, got to the Kansas City Star’s Web site KCStar.com and under news click obituaries and search her name.
Chelsea Kate Isaacs may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at email@example.com.