Recalling the Harvard senior's humor and friendship, more than 100 students and friends came together Thursday evening to celebrate the life of Courtney S. Blair '19.
Blair, an Economics concentrator who lived in Dunster House, died suddenly over the summer at her home in Georgia. Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana wrote in a July 6 email that Blair was a “beloved member of the College community” and that her loss is “heartbreaking.”
At the gathering, held at the Spee Club, friends and former roommates stood up one by one to share stories of meaningful experiences they shared with Blair. The anecdotes, both funny and serious, underscored the unconditional love Blair held for her friends and the joy she brought to everyone who knew her.
Attendees aimed to paint a full picture of Blair’s time at the College, ranging from first encounters during the admitted students weekend, Visitas, to late-night conversations in her dorm room.
“I think there was such a broad range of stories shared that just expressed so many different sides to her,” said Emily Corrigan ’19, a close friend of Blair's who helped organize Thursday’s memorial service. “It was just a really touching representation of Courtney and a really nice way to remember her and I think people really needed it.”
Midway through the service, a group of Blair’s friends performed an emotional rendition of “Hallelujah.”
Pictures of Blair lined the walls of the clubhouse Thursday. Flowers and candles lay scattered around the upstairs room in which the service was held. Students snacked on Fruit Gushers — one of Blair’s favorite foods, according to Corrigan.
Undergraduates who had known Blair pressed into a large upstairs room to remember and to say goodbye. So many of them came that the crowd overflowed into the adjacent stairwell.
“The fact that so many people were here, too, was just a testament to how much Courtney touched all of us,” Corrigan said.
During her time at Harvard, Blair worked at the Harvard Shop, was a member of the Spee, participated in the boxing club, and tutored students in economics and statistics. This past summer, she worked as an intern for the Boston Consulting Group in her home state.
At the service, multiple attendees mentioned Blair's drive and predicted that she would have been the CEO of a major company, had she lived.
Several attendees said the event was meant to bring people together to create a “sacred space” to allow everyone to cope with the loss. After the service, some students lingered in the Spee to more informally share memories of Blair.
Dozens lined up to sign the guest book for the event.
“I think it was really important to have people come together to just process it and be there for one another because this all happened over the summer,” Corrigan said. “No one really got the chance to get through it and it’s hard to do on your own.”
—Staff writer Caroline S. Engelmayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cengelmayer13.
—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelEXie1.