EUGENE -- The 21-year old who died Friday of bacterial meningitis was a graduate of a Portland high school and well-known among teachers and her peers.
Lillian Pagenstecher survived a previous bout with the disease during her freshman year of college, but remained at risk because of a genetic protein deficiency, according to her father. She became sick again last week and died.
Gerhard and Toni Pagenstecher said they were at Lillian's bedside when she passed away at Sacred Heart Medical Center, according to a report in the Register-Guard.
Although she graduated from Lincoln High School a few years ago, the staff there still remembers her well.
"She was really an incredible student so positive and upbeat, absolutely beautiful girl with close friends and dance team and a leader and just an incredible student, so it's just incredibly tragic," said Principal Peyton Chapman.
Pagenstecher hoped to possibly go into nursing. She was studying psychology at the University of Oregon and was about to finish her junior year.
More than 1,000 people attended a candlelight vigil at the campus Sunday night. Members of her Chi Omega sorority were at the vigil, smiling, sobbing, and sharing special memories.
There was silence as Toni Pagenstecher spoke of her daughter, a eulogy delivered as Mother's Day drew to an end. The two had just completed the Eugene Half-Marathon last month, the newspaper reported.
“I am just grateful to my daughter, Lillian, for including me in her activities here,” she said, "I enjoyed that moment I spent here at the University of Oregon with my child — who I really wanted to come home. I love you, Lillian.”
School spokeswoman Julie Brown said the school was working to identify anyone who came in contact with Pagenstecher, as they could be at risk for contracting the disease. So far, there have been no new cases of bacterial meningitis on the campus.
According to a statement the university released, "In order for the illness to spread, a person would need to have close contact with the patient for four hours or more over the past seven days."
Both of Lillian's brothers came down with meningitis after she became sick the first time. They share the same genetic protein deficiency as their sister.