The Lowell Whiteman School/Courtesy Photo
Lucille ‘Lucy’ Grace Causley, a 2009 Lowell Whiteman School graduate, died Saturday morning in a house fire in Gunnison where she was a freshman at Western State College. Causley was 18.
Steamboat Springs Friends and former teachers of Lucy Causley’s at The Lowell Whiteman School described her as positive, bubbly, energetic, exuberant, enthusiastic, compassionate, tolerant and inquisitive.
She was the girl who laughed often, even at herself, and always had a smile on her face, they said.
Whiteman seniors Sarah Allan and Haley Buchner said Causley was adventurous, the type of girl who always was “stoked” to go hiking, skiing or for a soak in the hot springs. And Allan, her roommate last year at the school’s girls dormitory, said she was unforgettable.
“If you met Lucy for a minute, and only once, you’d remember her big brown eyes and her freckles,” she said.
Lucille “Lucy” Grace Causley, a 2009 Whiteman graduate, died in a Saturday morning fire in Gunnison. A freshman at Western State College, Causley was 18.
She transferred to Steamboat Springs from Harbor Springs, Mich., for her junior year of high school, said Whiteman Head of School Walt Daub.
Whiteman Dean of Students Mitch Globe said Lucy struggled academically her first year at Whiteman. He said she returned for her senior year with a “renewed passion” and made the first trimester dean’s list, which requires students to maintain an average of 86 to 89 percent in all courses.
“I would not be exaggerating to say, and I’ve been here 20 years, she was one of our brightest stars in every single way,” Globe said. “She represented what the Whiteman School is about, and she did it with grace.”
Daub said Causley was a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as an Alpine ski racer her junior year. During her senior year, she joined the school’s foreign travel program.
With about a dozen other Whiteman students, Causley traveled to Vietnam in April for a more than three-week trip. Meg Morse, Whiteman’s director of college counseling, led the trip to Vietnam. She said Causley embodied what Whiteman wants from its foreign travel students, from the planning process to reveling in the experience to her willingness to discuss it after returning.
Causley was the one who woke everyone to see a 5:30 a.m. sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and played soccer with local children in a village where the students stayed, Morse said.
“She couldn’t get enough of it,” Morse said. “She was just so enthusiastic about the trip that it really made everyone else’s trip that much better.”
Causley had applied and was accepted to a two-month trip to Costa Rica as part of Western State’s CORE program, school spokeswoman Tracey Koehler said. She would have joined seven other students on the March 1 to April 30 trip to earn 18 credit hours. It’s part of the school’s Outdoor Leadership and Resort Management program.
Because the program didn’t start until March, Koehler said Causley wasn’t enrolled in any other classes this semester. Allan and Buchner said she was living in a house in Crested Butte and spent most of her time skiing.
According to The Associated Press, Gunnison Volunteer Fire Department officials said they were called to the blaze that started about 5:20 a.m. in the 100 block of North Colorado Street. Another Western State student, 21-year-old Michael Lockard, of Bethesda, Md., also died in the fire.
Gunnison County Coroner Frank Vader said autopsies revealed that Causley and Lockard died of acute carbon monoxide poisoning after inhaling smoke “for some time.”
Daub said Lowell Whiteman School administrators spoke with students about Causley during the all-school meeting Monday morning. He said counseling services were made available. Counseling services also were available for students at Western State.
Western State will hold a memorial service for both students at 7 p.m. today in the campus’ Taylor Auditorium.
Buchner said she’ll miss her friend’s laugh the most. But she’ll also miss Causley’s carefree demeanor and her enthusiasm for life.
“I would probably say Lucy lived every day to the fullest,” Buchner said. “I’ve never met anyone who’s lived their life so much at such a young age.”