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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Leigh Gramlich was described as 'vibrant' by friends

Feb. 1, 2000

It was her leopard-print skirts and her wild-pink shirts.

It was her high-pitched voice and the shine in her blue eyes. Her huge collection of Beanie Babies. The way she sang and danced whenever someone turned on the radio.

In fact, everything about Leigh Gramlich made people look up and smile, friends and family said.

"When she walked into a room, you knew she was there," said Brandi Schaffer, a close friend, "and you wanted to be there."

Vivian Leigh Gramlich of St. Charles died Friday, Jan. 28, 2000, of injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 20.

Friends and family described the MU junior as an optimistic, caring person who could make people smile during their darkest moments. Her personality was as vibrant as the clothing in her closet, friends said.

"Everything in Leigh's world was pink and soft and fluffy or leopard print," Schaffer said. "It was just her: bright and charismatic. She was a very vivacious person."

Ms. Gramlich was a member of Kappa Delta sorority, where she met many of her closest friends. She was the internal social chair and performed in skits during Greek Week and Formal Rush.

"You meet her, and you know there's never going to be anyone else in the world like her," said junior Stacey Stark, one of Gramlich's best friends.

Ms. Gramlich and her three best friends from Kappa Delta were "pretty much inseparable," Stark said. The four friends took road trips to Indiana and St. Louis, fought one another on Sony Playstation and ran through Wal-Mart at 2 a.m.

"She made everything an adventure," Stark said. "She made a four-hour car ride seem like four minutes. A song would come on the radio, and she had all these dance moves made up. Whether it was something by the Goo Goo Dolls or rap, she knew all the words."

They went shopping together, ate junk food together and stayed up talking until 3 a.m. together. Ms. Gramlich's friends said they will miss talking to her most of all.

"Even if it was a horrible time, she made it into a good one," Schaffer said.

Family played a huge role in Ms. Gramlich's life. On many weekends, she would go home to St. Charles to play board games with her parents and siblings.

Ms. Gramlich and her mother collected Beanie Babies together. They would often go to toy stores at 5 a.m. to add a few more dolls to their collection of hundreds.

"She taught you a lot about taking life for what it is and liking people for who they are," Ms. Gramlich's sister, Lisa, said. "You couldn't help but like Leigh."

Ms. Gramlich is survived by her parents, Robin and Paul" one sister" and one brother, Calvin.

Services will be at 1 p.m. today at BAUE Funeral and Memorial Gardens in St. Charles. Donations may be sent to Youth-in-Need, 516 Jefferson St., St. Charles, Mo., 63301.

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