Not Soon Forgotten

Heather Mangan

Heather Mangan

At 21, former Caldwell Hall Resident Assistant Karmen (Gregory) Lafrentz was in the midst of a life some only dream about.

She had recently married Michael Lafrentz, her high-school sweetheart and an RA in Pierson Hall. She was looking forward to a year’s study in Spain.

But on Aug. 17, tragedy struck. On their way to a family member’s funeral in Kansas, the duo’s Chevrolet drifted into oncoming traffic – a head-on collision. Karmen didn’t make it out alive.

But while the pain is still fresh and the wounds still deep, her husband and friends say the woman who so deeply touched their lives will never be forgotten.

“She cared and she was willing to listen. She was just amazing,” Michael said while fighting emotions.

He was treated and released from a Kansas hospital, and is recovering from knee surgery Aug. 23.

A junior Spanish and economics major, Karmen was considering some type of career in international business. She was scheduled to leave for Spain Sept. 3, and would have spent the year honing her Spanish skills.

Friends say she left her mark on SDSU as an RA, striving to create a home-away-from-home environment. She baked cookies for her floor and organized activities that would bring residents together.

“She was one of the most genuine people I know. She was sweet, hardworking and not afraid of a little fun,” said Savannah Zins, a senior nursing major. “It is a great loss to everyone who knew her, but we all have plenty of fond memories to keep her spirit alive.”

Her ability to be a good RA came with her strong people skills. She enjoyed being around people, and had a gift for helping people understand each other, Michael said.

“She could be tactful as needed but she could also be very forward with people and tell them what they needed to hear,” said the senior psychology and mathematics major.

Being an RA was an important part of Karmen’s life as well as Michael’s. They took great pride in their jobs, said Adam Dupic, an RA in Caldwell.

“They both had a real good impact on this university,” Dupic said.

A month prior to the accident, Karmen and Michael were married in Sioux Falls. They were together for nearly five years when they said “I do.”

Dupic said the two were “like peas in a pod” and their love for each other was evident to everyone around them.

When she walked down the aisle July 15, Karmen was wearing a dress she had designed and sewed herself.

She had also made her bridesmaid dresses, as well as dresses for another wedding a month before hers.

But her talents went beyond sewing. Karmen also had a passion for dance and the arts.

Although Karmen may have left this world, her memory will always live in the hearts of her friends and families.

“She was a great friend and a wonderful person,” said Jean Mingo, a junior pharmacy major. “There are not enough words in the world to describe her. I will never forget her and will always miss her.”

Funeral services for Karmen were held Aug. 24 in Sioux Falls.

#1.884431:1250129788.jpg:rapair01.jpg:Libby Micka and Dan Dohman view photos of Karmen Lafrentz, a recent bride and SDSU resident assistant.:#1.884430:3458359501.jpg:karmen01.jpg:In Loving Memory of Karmen Jo (Gregory) Lafrentz 1985-2006: