Gleason remembered for dedication, poise

by The Dartmouth | 11/26/14 10:23am

Even after injuring her knee last year,Kelsie Gleason kept running, completing multiple half-marathons. This determination shows Gleason’s character, her fiancé Nathan Butters said, calling her “one of the most dedicated human beings I’ve ever met.”

Gleason, a second-year student at Geisel Medical School, died Saturday on campus. She was 24. TheNaperville, Illinois, native studied biology and Hispanic studies atIllinois Wesleyan University before coming to Geisel.

"Our thoughts are with Kelsie's family, friends and the entire Dartmouth community at this time of such tragic loss," College President Phil Hanlon wrote in a campus-wide email on Saturday.

Gleason was loyal to her family and close with her twin sister, Courtney, Butters said.Though the two attended different colleges, Gleason was there any time her sister needed her, he said.

Gleason wanted to be a doctor since she was a child, and television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” inspired her, Butters said. This interest drove Gleason to join the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2012. She aspired to help veterans as an orthopedic surgeon.

“She knows how much the people who serve us go through,” Butters said.

The first time she visited Dartmouth, Gleason felt a sense of community on campus, Butters said, noting that opportunities for skiing and horseback riding appealed to her.

After moving to West Lebanon, she volunteered for the High Horses Therapeutic Riding program in White River Junction and the Upper Valley Humane Society in Enfield.

Usually reserved, Gleason became animated around her friends, Butters said. He added that she was both modest and intelligent, yet she “could not be convinced of how intelligent she was.”

Butters said Gleason was never the center of attention but had "quiet poise."

“All the things she accomplished, everything she battled through,” Butters said, “it’s just absolutely amazing how much fortitude she had.”

Interim Geisel dean Duane Compton expressed his sympathies in a statement, and described Gleason as a “vibrant and smart young woman.”

“Kelsie touched each person in our community in different ways and the best way to honor her life is to remember how she affected each of us and how that made an impact on our lives,” Compton wrote.

Dartmouth will hold a ceremony in honor of Gleason in January.

A wake will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home in Naperville on Friday. Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville will hold a funeral at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Gleason is survived by her parents, Robert and Mary Kay Gleason, and her sister Courtney Gleason.