PLAINVIEW – Staff and students from Wayland Baptist University celebrated the life of two students during a memorial service held Wednesday, Oct. 27, in Harral Auditorium.
Katye Mansdoerfer and Reid Rogers – both of whom died in an automobile accident on Oct. 20 – were remembered for their smiles, their joy and their love for God and life during the service, held during the university’s traditional chapel hour.
Around 900 attendees turned out for the event, composed of students, Wayland faculty and staff and community members. The praise band from Plumbline, the weekly worship service organized by the Student Ministries office, led the service with three praise choruses, followed by testimonies from four about the two students.
“Katye was what I’d call an eternal optimist,” said Zach Crook, a sophomore from Albuquerque, N.M. “She was always happy and had a way of making everyone’s day better.”
Crook also described Mansdoerfer as an encourager who was “secure in who she was and where she was going.”
“She was ready for her prince – Jesus – to come for her and she lived her life with no regrets,” Crook said, imploring students to live in the same manner and be secure in their future in heaven.
Jeff Graves, a freshman from Plainview and a longtime friend of Rogers, added levity to the service by remembering the funny side of Reid, a 2004 Plainview High School graduate.
“We were always looking for fun things to do,” Graves said. “Reid loved to laugh and make people laugh. Reid was one of those guys who had a smile that lit up the room.”
Graves said Rogers was passionate about his relationship with God and “was an example, living for Christ every day.”
Hope English, director of special projects at Wayland and a longtime employee of the Plainview schools, spoke of Rogers’ enthusiasm for life, even at student council meetings set for 7:45 a.m.
“We had our share of grumpies, but not Reid. He came in with a smile and left with a smile,” English said. “I’m convinced the smile on his face was just an eruption of the pure joy and zest for life that he had.”
English also said the two young people lived out their purpose according to God’s plan.
“Katye and Reid’s lives may not have been as long as we would have hoped, but they were lives well spent,” she said.
Dr. Paul Armes, university president, shared words of encouragement during a brief message which followed a slide presentation featuring photos of the two students with many friends.
“There are some unknowable mysteries in life, and even if we had the answers, wouldn’t our hearts still hurt?” Armes asked. “Our knowledge this side of heaven will always be incomplete, but I believe Katye and Reid would want us to talk about the things we do know.”
“Even in life’s most challenging and heartbreaking moments, you can be comforted,” Armes said, referencing the 14th chapter of John in which Jesus comforts the disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. “As painful as this is, you can still trust in Christ with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Funeral services for Katye were held Saturday in Albuquerque, while Reid’s funeral was held Saturday in Plainview.