Sociology student Meghan Beebe remembered as creative, caring

By Mary Reines

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Courtesy of Mary Simms

Courtesy of Mary Simms

Meghan Beebe liked learning. She was always eager to take classes, signing up for almost 20 credits each semester. The senior sociology major even finished a semester early, graduating from the University of Massachusetts in December.

But on Dec. 28 her life was cut short after she was struck by a car in a parking lot in Greenwich, Conn., around 2 a.m. The driver stopped briefly before dragging Beebe under his car for four blocks, ignoring her friend’s pleas to stop the vehicle, according to the Greenwich Patch. She was pronounced dead at Stamford Hospital hours later, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Police arrested Vyacheslav Cherepov, 26, of Ridgefield, Conn., on multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter. He is being held on a $500,000 bond, according to the Greenwich Patch.

Beebe is survived by her father, Richard Beebe, who said that she was a lot like her mother, Eileen Beebe, who died of metastasized colon cancer in 2007. Eileen Beebe was a social worker, and her daughter wanted to become one too.

“Meghan would reach out and help people,” Richard Beebe said.

According to Beebe’s friend Keith Sacenti, Beebe came to UMass for the sociology program and she didn’t want to go anywhere urban. She liked nature.

At UMass, Beebe was an active member in the sociology club, where she was a founder and vice president. She was a dedicated volunteer at the sexual assault crisis hotline through the Center for Women, working shifts from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Beebe also completed an internship at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction in Northampton, where she shadowed social workers and ran group sessions.

Beebe’s life was filled with possibilities. Her summer job at a YMCA camp reinforced her love for kids. She considered getting a degree in education to teach middle school. She also wanted to dedicate her life to social work and attain a master’s degree in sociology, and perhaps a doctorate too.

“She wanted to work for a year or two and find out what she liked,” her father said.

Beebe grew up in Middlebury, Conn., and attended the Westover School where her dad works. She started playing soccer in the first grade and became the co-captain of her varsity high school team. She joined a program called Outdoor and participated in camping, canoeing and rock climbing.

She was musical, too. Beebe could play the piano and the saxophone, but she really loved to sing. She was the vice president of her school’s glee club and a member of the chamber choir that was made up of faculty and students. She also sang in the church choir at St. John of the Cross with her friends Mary Simms and Lauren Buckley, both of Middlebury.

Simms met Beebe in preschool and they went to church together.

“In the back she pretended to be a cat and I pretended to be a dog,” Simms said.

In the choir, Simms was a soprano and Beebe was an alto, so the two enjoyed harmonizing together and singing church songs or songs on the radio. Buckley also enjoyed singing in church with Beebe. They were both altos so they always sat next to each other.

Both Buckley and Simms said Beebe always made car rides fun. Beebe never got her license so Buckley would drive them around. They had many adventures together in the car.

“There was never a dull moment,” Buckley said.

And everyone admired Beebe’s cooking. She was a creative and prolific chef, and she never followed a recipe. One time Beebe made a giant blue cake with a crown on it. Another time she made pancakes with Easter candy. Buckley said Beebe’s projects were “never generic.”

“Always homemade, no box creations, always her own … she made everything her own,” Buckley said.

Beebe and Buckley made a piñata for Simms, who was the first to leave for college. The women had many fun times together.

Michelle Shabo, Beebe’s roommate at UMass, remembered Beebe’s creativity too.

“She was an amazing cook. She taught me a lot,” Shabo said. “Her dad left me her KitchenAid stand mixer.”

Beebe also started decorating their living room ceiling with paper snowflakes hung from ribbons, and got friends to help too. Whether it was cake or snowflakes, Beebe loved to share her creations with the people around her.

Shabo usually came home late, so Beebe left her kind notes around the apartment with thoughtful messages. One night Shabo had a big test the next morning and she came home to a platter of different kinds of cookies and a note saying, “Good luck.”

“She made me a more compassionate person,” Shabo said. “She always put everyone else first.”

Shabo and Beebe were different. Beebe loved Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, which Shabo would never read. But the two had similar personalities and supported each other.

“She lived a short but purposeful life,” Shabo said.

Beebe’s friends agreed that she was passionate about equality and female empowerment.

Simms remembered Beebe as a role model and a beautiful, strong woman.

“She always made the best of what was in front of her,” Simms said. “She always believed the best in everyone.”

Mary Reines can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Beebe’s mother died of breast cancer. That has since been corrected above.