We Remember Sammy Jean Day ‘21

June 10, 2021

Sudden, and unexpected, sometimes these are the ways of God, sometimes He decides a soul is so brilliant she must return home sooner rather than later. It is with this belief and understanding that we turn our thoughts to the bright and talented burst of energy known as Sammy Day. Suddenly and unexpectedly Samantha Jean Day went home to our Lord on June 1, 2021. Born on December 15, 1998 in Lexington, North Carolina, to James and Sharon Day, Sammy came to the Abbey in 2017 enrolled in the Honors College and graduated Cum Laude with her B.A. in English this past May.

She was a constant source of love and joy during her time at the Abbey, she forged friendships across the campus, and served the college as an Abbey Advocate for three years, assisting our admissions team with tours, answering phone calls, hosting events, and helping in the office. She served as the Tour Guide Team Lead, was on the Advocate Leadership team, and became an integral part of the Admissions Advocate Team.

“Sammy was someone who continuously made everyone laugh, and always had a smile on her face. She was incredibly hard-working and dedicated to everything she signed up to do,” said Assistant Director of Admissions Emma Clune.

Indeed, she loved her time here at the Abbey, in her last posting on her Instagram account she recalled how she would end each tour with a prospective student by saying “Well, this is the end of our tour, I hope you’ve enjoyed the Abbey as much as I do.” She recalled that her four years were “the best experience I could have asked for. Thanks for everything!”

We thank her for her presence, her joy, and her hospitality. She was known across our campus making friends everywhere she went, but her roots were in the Honors College, where she thrived and achieved.

The Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Joseph Wysocki reflected on Sammy as part of the Honors community: “The Honors College family and especially our recent graduating seniors are feeling a deep sense of sadness at the loss of our dearest friend Sammy. Of course, not enough can be said about Sammy’s joyful presence and uplifting sense of humor. I will always remember the smile I had on my face all day after I opened my office door to find hundreds of plastic pit balls strewn from wall to wall by Sammy and her best friend Kateri. The letters she wrote for me and many other faculty members around graduation point to Sammy’s possession of one the most important Christian virtues, gratitude. I, in turn, like so many others here, am eternally grateful for having had Sammy in my life these past four years.”

“In addition to gratitude, Sammy possessed another virtue that is quite rare. She was truly faithful. Faithful, like our monastic community, to a life of ora et labora or prayer and work. Anyone who has experienced the Abbey knows that perhaps the most important work we do is building one another up through Christian community. Consistently seeing her smile and hearing her laughter made a real difference to her fellow students, faculty, and to me personally. And so, even though Sammy was taken from us far too soon, we are confident that along with St. Paul she can say, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ We miss you, Sammy. Pray for us.”

Our chief of police, Andy Leonard also has fond memories of Sammy: “Sammy’s smile was contagious and she brightened up every room she walked into. Pretty sure she never met a stranger and if she did, they were friends before they parted company. Our lives were better because she was part of them.”

Dr. Bill Thierfelder, our president, recalls Sammy in this way, “Sammy Day was one of the most wonderful, holy, joyful persons that I have ever known. Her love for others knew no bounds. She was renowned for her thoughtful, kind, caring notes of encouragement and love. Only three weeks ago I received one of her special letters, with a coffee gift card enclosed, expressing her appreciation for her Abbey experience and the times spent with my family at our home. She loved the Abbey and she especially loved all of her friends deeply. I am confident that she is now in Heaven continuing to love and intercede for all of us. I will miss her greatly.”

Sammy leaves behind numerous friends who cherish her memory and her friendship.

“One of Sammy’s great characteristics was her pure genuine enthusiasm when seeing anyone she knew on campus. She very much valued the community of the Abbey, particularly the variety of friendships that grew from it. I will always remember the joy and excitement on her face as she shouted someone’s name from across the quad or in the cafeteria and her laughter when they looked around in confusion trying to spot her.” – Kateri Brehany ‘21

“A beautiful, kind, and generous soul, Sammy taught me how to be a good friend. She had an infectious laugh and a joyful enthusiasm for life. I will especially cherish the memories of making faces at each other during class (we’d still try even when we had masks on) and the many spontaneous adventures we shared.” – Lily Mullen ‘21

“Sammy Day was one of the first friends I made at Belmont Abbey. A lot of people knew Sammy, but not everyone knew how great of a friend she was. She always answered my calls, no matter the time. She took notes for me when I missed class, even if I didn’t ask. I will miss Sammy, but I am comforted by the fact that I know she made the most of what little time she had with her four minors, involvement in clubs, and dedication to friendships. I am grateful I was able to share one last hug with her before she passed away.” – Katie McCarthy ‘21

“Sammy was a great friend and someone that I admired a lot. She always had a smile on her, and the most infectious laugh. She was someone I relied on day after day, and she always gave the best advice. She was my little piece of home on campus since we were both from Lexington, NC. She was always the happiest when she was doing things for others. I remember her love for others, sunflowers, sunsets, and sunrises. The world lost a brilliant, beautiful soul, but Heaven gained the perfect angel. I know every beautiful sunrise/sunset was hand painted by Sammy. I love and miss her.” – Ally Tennant ‘21

“Sammy was a woman of rare and immovable integrity. It was in this way, and in the way that she loved her family and friends, with fidelity and grace, that she reflected Christ. Sammy truly had a gift for recognizing and appreciating the profoundness and beauty of every moment in life, from the most obvious causes for celebration to the seemingly small, unassuming ones. But that was the thing about Sammy, she caused most of those beautiful moments when one was with her. She breathed joy, energy, and laughter into every day. I truly thank God for who she was and the impact she had on me.” – Madeleine Kortsch ‘22

“During my time at Belmont Abbey College I was fortunate enough to make a friend like Sammy Day. Through our cooperation in working together with the Abbey Advocates, and spending time during and outside of school, I got to know Sammy as one of the most hard working, nicest, smiley, and beautiful souls I have ever met. She was special, and she made every moment spent together a good one. I will forever cherish my memories of Sammy singing at karaoke night, teaching me how to drive a golf cart, and sharing a piece of cake in a cup with me. She will truly be missed, and I will be forever grateful for our friendship. Thank you Sammy, and may you rest in peace.” –Rebecca Marcucci ‘22

A Celebration of Life will be held 10 am, Saturday, June 26 at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Lexington, NC.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in God’s love and his eternal peace. We will miss her dearly, until we meet again.