Hundreds attend vigil to honor student’s memory
The Santa Clara
April 27, 2017
On March 4, the Santa Clara community lost a loyal and upbeat friend. Senior Will Taylor, 21, left a lasting impact on campus and in the hearts of all who knew him.
Born in Santa Monica, California on August 4, 1995, Taylor grew up in Mercer Island, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. He attended Mercer Island High School where he was a varsity letterman on the basketball team and graduated in 2013.
“The first day of practice Will came into the locker room with his big smile and walked up to me and cracked a joke. As that nervous sophomore that meant so much to me,” said Jack Counihan, a fellow Mercer Island native and teammate of Will’s.
The lasting relationships Taylor created at his high school were just as strong as his proximate friendships at Santa Clara, where he joined Sigma Pi Fraternity.
“Seeing him on the way to class or in the library would instantly brighten my mood,” Counihan said.
Arriving at Santa Clara as a first-year student in fall of 2013, Taylor quickly formed friendships with his Swig Hall floormates, fellow members of his Sigma Pi pledge class and students in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Taylor was pursuing a degree in economics and a minor in political science. A strong student, Taylor’s devotion in the classroom equated his zealousness to form strong and lasting friendships throughout his life.
Taylor is survived by his mother Kendall and father David, as well as his older sister Kasey and younger brother Michael. The family has been comforted by the outpouring of support from Taylor’s close friends and the Santa Clara community as a whole.
A funeral service was held in remembrance of Taylor’s life on March 11 at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. Hundreds came out in support of the Taylor family, and the time was used to celebrate Taylor’s life and the impact he had on those around him.
Additionally, a candlelight vigil was held on the Santa Clara campus on March 5. Hundreds of Santa Clara students attended the vigil, where his friends held candles and purple orchids and stood in a circle, sharing memories of Taylor one-by-one.
At the 9 p.m. mass that followed, which was dedicated in Taylor’s honor, so many people attended that there was standing room only.
“I’ve never seen so many people at a 9 p.m. mass in the nine years that I have been here,” Director of Campus Ministry Lulu Santana said to the crowd following the conclusion of the service.
Some of Taylor’s closest friends were those who lived with him in the off-campus house Hooters, as well as his fellow brothers in the Sigma Pi fraternity, and remembered him for being incredibly outgoing.
“Anyone Will talked to or met, he would always have his positive attitude and big smile,” said George Pallis, a Mercer Island native and member of Sigma Pi.
The month of March was delicate time for the Santa Clara community, who also mourned the losses of Julian Fraser, a Santa Clara water polo athlete who lost his battle with cancer, and Devin Kelly, another senior who passed away unexpectedly.
Contact John Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852. Editor in Chief Sophie Mattson contributed to this report.