As Ferd Thun paddles a Wildlands Conservancy canoe down the Lehigh River as part of the Conservancy’...
The Katie Stauffer Memorial Fund
Katie Stauffer was, in her mother’s words, “every parent’s dream.” Gifted academically, athletically, and artistically, Katie excelled in everything she did. She was an Honors graduate of Quakertown High School who won awards for her studies in physics, math, English, and history. A competitive swimmer, Katie was a member of a state championship swim team, and spent a great deal of her spare time as a volunteer, teaching and mentoring children. “She was always smiling,” says her mother, Linda Stauffer. “She loved people and life, and she brought enthusiasm and energy to everything she did.”
Determined to help people, Katie enrolled at Swarthmore College as a pre-med major, with thoughts of a career in medical research. In her sophomore year at Swarthmore, Katie was looking forward to vacationing in Florida with friends. As they drove south from Pennsylvania, Katie phoned her mother when the group stopped along the route. She ended what would be her last phone call home with her cheery and familiar words—“I love you, Mom.” A short while later, after Katie had curled up in the front passenger seat for a nap, the car spun out of control and Katie was killed.
“If Katie was every parent’s dream, the phone call telling us she had been killed was every parent’s nightmare,” says Linda. Vowing to memorialize their daughter in a loving, lasting, and creative way, Linda and Carl Stauffer established the Katie Stauffer Memorial Fund at the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. The Fund helped to launch the Katie Stauffer Memorial Arts Center, a place where children—some of whom knew Katie—can draw and paint, sculpt, learn photography, and even filmmaking.
In one of her journals, Katie wrote— “I want my life to have meaning. I want to help others, and I want to have a lasting effect for good.” She did. She does. She always will.