UR to hold public memorial for hot-air balloon victims Wednesday

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-12 19:25:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- The University of Richmond will hold a public memorial for two members of the women's basketball staff killed in a hot-air balloon accident at Meadow Event Park Friday.

Officials announced late Monday that a time of remembrance in memory of Ginny Doyle, associate head women’s basketball coach and Natalie Lewis, director of basketball operations, will be held at Cannon Memorial Chapel on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Flags on the campus will be at half-staff through Wednesday and a formal memorial service is planned for the fall.

Parking is available in the Chapel parking lot, W41. Visitors to campus should be aware the River Road entrance to the university is closed at this time. [Click here for campus parking map]

Doyle Family

Doyle Family

Statement from Ginny Doyle's family

We are deeply saddened by the tragic events and the loss of Ginny. Words cannot express how we feel or our remorse. Ginny was a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, athlete, teammate, coach, teacher, colleague, friend and storyteller.

She was a formidable player who will always be remembered for her NCAA free-throw shooting record, which led to national recognition and her nickname "Deadeye Doyle.” She was an accomplished coach, dedicated to women's basketball and her life with the University of Richmond Spiders. She touched the lives of many and lived life to the fullest. She will be greatly missed and holds a special place in all our hearts.

Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are extended to the Lewis Family and her fiancé on the loss of Natalie, Ginny's colleague and best friend.

Doyle Phillies

Statement from Natalie Lewis' family

Lewis, Natalie FamilyWe are saddened by the loss of our Natalie. Natalie was devoted to her faith, her family and her fiancé Michael Dougher. She was our thoughtful, affectionate, beautiful daughter and sister. She was most excited to share her future loving Michael.

Natalie loved people. She was our constant source of happiness and joy. She used genuine words and selfless actions to gently help others be more successful and more fulfilled.

Natalie was proud of her hometown of Buffalo and loyal to the University of Richmond. She was the consummate classmate, teammate, leader, teacher, co-worker and dearest friend.

Lewis, Natalie Swim

We would like to thank you for your support, prayers and love during this difficult time. We also would like to thank the Virginia State Police and the University of Richmond for their assistance and support in Richmond.

Her laugh, her hugs and her smile were timeless. She inspired all of us to be better people and that will never fade. Natalie’s spirit will surely endure in each of us.

University mourns hot-air balloon crash victims

Instead of focusing on the start of Summer session, University of Richmond President Edward Ayers is comforting the families of his basketball staff whose lives were cut short.

Flags flew at half staff Monday morning outside Robins Center on the University of Richmond campus after Friday’s tragic hot air balloon accident outside of Doswell.
"They were here with us last week and all of a sudden they are gone," U of R Basketball Men’s Manager Arthur Tarte said.

It’s a somber reality that Tate, like the rest of the Spider nation,  is struggling with days after they watched fiery images of that balloon accident in horror.

“Everyone is still in a state of shock. Students, student athletes, faculty it's just a tragedy beyond imagination," Tarte said.

The accident left students and staff visibly shaken Monday over the loss of Associate Women's Basketball Head Coach Ginny Doyle and her colleague Natalie Lewis.

"The types of relationships we have with our athletes are those of friendship because of that you see the emotions," Joshua Grice, the president of the Richmond Rowdies school spirit organization, said. "It was more strongly felt on campus because of the size of the campus there's a familial element that is really unique to the Spider community."

That U of R family is leaning on each other to get through the tragedy and grief counselors are on hand to help students and staff.

"We just got to stay together, keep each other motivated and pray for the family going through the tragedy," Tarte said. "Right now I can't imagine what the families are going through."

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