A memorial service for Deanna DelMonaco was held on Thursday, September 21st at 4:00 p.m. in University of New Haven’s Maxcy Quad.
The campus community and Deanna’s family and friends joined together to honor her spirit.
The memorial was put on in part by the Dean of Student’s Office, Student Affairs, Graduate Student Services, Dean Baker and Dean Kitchell, Campus Police, Charger Bulletin, Marty O’Connor, and former Love Your Melon president, Tricia Lasasso.
O’Conner is an Associate Professor in the Henry C. Lee College, and an ordained Deacon of the Archdiocese of Hartford, led the memorial in a prayer service.
The Art from the Heart president, Liana Stampalia, was invited up to share the reading from the Book of Wisdom, “The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever. Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect.”
Nicole Mundt, Deanna’s roommate, spoke about her first memories of meeting Deanna when they were both first year students.
“Even just knowing me for the first few weeks, she threw me a birthday party, which meant so much to me because I didn’t know anybody here. I was thousands of miles away from home, and it really touched me. She invited me to Thanksgiving with her family, and again the next year. It meant so much to have somebody for Thanksgiving, for holidays, with friends and family,” Mundt said.
Deanna’s older sister did a reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. “…we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Tricia Lasasso, performed an acoustic version of “You’ll be in my Heart,” from Tarzan, to pay tribute to Deanna’s love of Disney.
Deanna’s parents spoke, and thanked the University for allowing Love Your Melon to put together the memorial.
“In her short life, she touched many people, and left a mark on us all,” her parents said.
Her mother shared that Deanna would always say, “No matter what life throws your way, and no matter how difficult the challenge is, stay positive, keep fighting, and do not ever give up.
“She really embraced her time on campus, and she loved meeting people and seeing what she could get involved in. She got involved with Art from the Heart, which meant a lot because she was a recipient of a bedroom makeover when she was 14 years old,” her mother said.
Her parents shared how she met the love of her life at school, and the two of them traveled to Disney together, and got to have their own fairytale wedding.
“Deanna lived her life by the motto that she had tattooed on her arm. That said ‘I Refuse to Sink’, and that she did. Until she chose to fly, on her own terms.”
Her mother closed with, “‘No matter what happens in life, be good to people, being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.’ And I see that was one of Deanna’s biggest legacies, is that she was good to people, and I see that just by everybody’s outpouring of love for our family.”
O’Connor ended the memorial with a sonnet from Shakespeare, “Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you, Deanna, shall shine more bright in these contents than unswept stone…against death and all-oblivious enmity shall pace forth; your praise shall still find room, even in the eyes of all posterity that wear this world out to the ending doom. So, Deanna, till the judgment that yourself arise, you live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.”
Lasasso and O’Connor, led the whole memorial service, to the Tree of Life in front of the Beckerman Recreation center. The tree is to honor in memory those who have lost their lives while they were students here at the university. There, everyone placed sunflowers in Deanna’s honor, as her memory will live on in all the lives she has touched.