- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

Virginia Tech student Maxine Turner stood only an inch over 5 feet, but hundreds of mourners yesterday remembered her as large in spirit, a vivacious and determined young woman whose death left a void in their lives.

“Max was one of those rare individuals who was loved by everyone,” said John Woods, a close friend of Miss Turner’s. “How will we live in a world without Max?”

Miss Turner, 22, was killed April 16 at Virginia Tech while in a German class in Norris Hall. About 600 people gathered at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna to remember the accomplished swing dancer and violin player who loved Halloween, Harry Potter and vampires.

A senior majoring in chemical engineering, Miss Turner was vibrant and full of contrasts, said the Rev. Robert W. Prichard. “She was tiny in stature and yet exuberant as a swing dancer and a practitioner of tae kwon do. She had an organized career path set out clearly before her, but she was incapable of keeping her room in order,” he said jokingly.

An ornate green urn holding her ashes sat at the front of the sanctuary beside an arrangement of orange roses, daisies, lilies and gladiolas. Nearby, a portrait of Miss Turner rested on an easel.

Miss Turner was a founding member of Virginia Tech’s chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an engineering sorority, and was nearing her graduation date when her life was cut short. She was due to start a job in June.

“Max bubbled with enthusiasm,” said close friend Erica Kellar, a Virginia Tech student, during the funeral. “She showed us how to treat everyone with great love and care.”

Chris Connell, a family friend, said Miss Turner’s parents worried about her when they heard news of the shootings at Virginia Tech because she was an engineering major.

Miss Turner was not in an engineering class, but elementary German, also in Norris Hall. “She was in that class because she was nuts for this German heavy metal band Rammstein,” Mr. Connell said.

Miss Turner was extremely close to her family, parents Susan and Paul Turner and brother Anthony, he said.

“She lit up every room she walked into, and every photo ever taken,” said her parents in a statement released after the funeral. “She was gorgeous and a heartbreaker, and on more than a few occasions — starting around age 4 — her heart was broken.”

Before Miss Turner graduated from Madison High School in Vienna in 2003, her mother searched for colleges with swing-dancing clubs, Mr. Connell said. She chose Tech for its engineering program, despite the fact that it didn’t have a swing-dancing club, he said.

He described her as photogenic and the “gleam of everyone’s eyes.”

“She was this bantam dynamo; she was a phenomenon is what she was,” he said.

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