Students gathered inside the Cochran Chapel on Sunday, October 3rd, as Andover held a celebration of life for Lohi Ehimiaghe ’21. The service remembered Ehimiaghe for all of the joy she brought to Andover’s campus and to those who knew her. She passed away on August 10th, 2021.
Several members from the class of ’21 attended the ceremony.
Alongside faculty and administrative members, such as Dr. Christine Marshall, Lohi’s former house counselor in Johnson House, and Head of School Dr. Raynard Kington, Ehimiaghe’s fellow students, and friends spoke to honor her memory. Mary Muromcew ’22 shared about her relationship with Ehimiaghe, explaining how powerful Ehimiaghe’s kindness was to her when she was an underclassman.
“Lohi and I lived in the same hall in Johnson my Lower year and were both in the same advising group. I was nervous to be in an upperclassmen dorm, but she immediately made me feel welcomed. She treated me like I was a good friend of hers, and that meant the world to me. Throughout my Lower year, I saw Lohi as a lighthouse: no matter how hard this place got, she always was there, a shining beacon of love to offer me advice, remind me of the good in the world, and give me the confidence to believe in myself,” said Muromcew during her speech, which she later shared with The Phillipian.
Ehimiaghe’s light had an impact on much of the Andover community, according to Reverend Gina Finocchiaro, who presided over the ceremony. Finocchiaro focused on Ehimiaghe’s ability to uplift those around her in the memorial service.
“Lohi had this profound impact on the people that she encountered— she saw them, she met them where they were, and she brought them along with her— lifting them up, celebrating their achievements with them, empowering them for the fabulous, unique, wonderful people that they are. You all have remembered her to me as “the life of the party” who always invited you to be a part of it… A spirit and energy that filled the room when she entered,” said Finocchiaro, who later shared her speech with The Phillipian.
As a younger student, Muromcew expressed gratitude for Ehimiaghe’s guidance throughout her time at Andover. Muromcew thanked Ehimiaghe for all that she has done to better her and her family, as well as the community as a whole.
“There are so many things I want to say that I don’t have the words for. I just feel so grateful for her. She was an angel on this earth. Thank you Lohi, for everything. For bringing so much light and joy to my sister Nikita [Muromcew ’21], for being someone whose goodness still motivates me to be a better person. We’re all so blessed to have known Lohi. I know her memory will always stay strong in all of our hearts,” added Muromcew.
Muromcew additionally shared that her love for Ehimiaghe will motivate her to express her love for those around her as fully as Ehimiaghe did.
Muromcew said, “The amount of love Lohi had in just her fingertip could fill this entire chapel. I looked up to her so much, in every way. She was smart, talented, hilarious, compassionate, bold, and giving. She showed me that kindness and love are the greatest strengths to have. I have this Lohi-sized hole in my heart. And because Lohi was Lohi, that hole feels so big, but because of what I’ve learned from Lohi, I know that this hole is really just a well full of my love for her. I know that she would want me to use it to do what she did best, and that is [to] try every day to make the people around me feel as loved as possible.”
According to Finocchiaro, the Andover community should keep in their hearts and minds the impact of Ehimiaghe on campus. Finocchiaro ended with a question, asking how we will remember and continue her legacy.
Finocchiaro said, “Again and again, it is the way she cared for you, knew you, believed in you, treasured you, loved you that is imprinted on your memories… We each have decisions to make about how this loss will change us, and what we will do in the wake of it as time carries on. How will you let the knowing and the loving of Lohi— and the precious years that she spent with us, with you— change you? What piece of her will you carry into the world and let keep living?”