The Passing of a Friend . . .

by ISP student Huda Al-Sammarraie, Berea College, Berea, KY

Dr. Michelle Tooley passed away on May 26, 2015, after a two-year struggle with cancer. She died very peacefully at her home surrounded by friends who were singing to her. I had the chance to see her two days before, and even though she could speak very little, she was fully aware and could remember everything clearly.

Michelle endorsed our admission to Berea and was the first support person for ISP students Rita, Ali, and me when we arrived at Berea and knew no one. She hosted a potluck for us during the first week of school and introduced us to several wonderful community members. She also introduced me to her best friend, Betty, who soon became my host mom here in Berea. Michelle was always kind, caring and helpful. It is sad that she has left us, but I know that she remains alive in our hearts and minds.

Michelle Tooley came to Berea College as Eli Lilly Professor of Religion and Associate Professor of Peace & Social Justice in 2003.  In addition to college teaching, she worked as a Spanish and English teacher in the Cayman Islands, a campus minister in Texas and Louisiana, and minister to the homeless in Louisville, Kentucky.