HPU holds memorial for Mariah Danforth-Moore

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - Stephen Danforth said as a toddler his daughter Mariah Danforth-Moore would flash a shaka sign, without knowing what it was.

"That was a long time ago. So I guess it's fitting she ended up in Hawaii," he said. "She's got an awesome family out here."

About 200 people from her Hawaii Pacific University family - students, teachers, administrators and friends - gathered to grieve in a memorial service at the university's Kaneohe campus.

"There's a big hole left for many of us whenever there is loss," chaplain Dale Burke told the crowd.

Danforth-Moore was killed Sunday night in a hit-and-run accident. Classmates wrote remembrances on large sympathy cards next to a collage of photographs of a smiling Mariah.

Friends said her smile was as magnetic as her personality.

"Everything that she had in her is something I would look for in any person in the future," Paul Diaz said.

"Her carefree spirit. Her ability to bring everybody together and keep everybody happy," Lindsey Beard said.

Students read poems, shared stories, and sang one of Mariah's favorite songs, a tune called "Honey Bee" by country artist Blake Shelton.

Danforth-Moore was returning to her dormitory when the accident happened.

Marine Cpl. Christopher Goecks administered CPR, but couldn't revive her. He attended the memorial in full dress uniform.

"I would love to thank this gentleman here," a sobbing Danforth said. "He tried to save my daughter's life. Thank you very much for trying."

Danforth moved to Hawaii from Oneida, WI, to be close to Mariah while she pursued a degree in psychology.  She was 19 when she died.

But as one close friend told the gathering, "In a meaningful life, 19 years is a lifetime."

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