Wild, spontaneous, compassionate and genuine. Strong but appropriate words to describe who Kate Roe was.
Roe, a freshman at the University of Idaho, was driving home on the night of May 21 when she pulled off the road and struck a parked vehicle. She died on the spot from her injuries.
A member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Roe has made a significant impact among her sisterhood sisters despite only being in college for a year. Prior to UI, she attended Boise High School in her hometown. As Roe majored in criminology, she was more indecisive and had considered eventually going to law.
Roe had visited friends earlier the same day she passed away, celebrating her roommate’s birthday. Most of the group of friends were together that day.
âRight before he passed away, I came down the stairs to say hello to him and jumped on him,â said sisterhood sister Aly Benson. âShe said ‘Hi Aly-bear! I missed you and I love you.
Silly nicknames were usually given by Roe to her close friends.
âShe just had a super goofy personality, it was contagious,â said sisterhood sister Caitlyn Ripley. “She just wasn’t afraid to be herself.”
As a senior member of KKG, Caitlyn Ripley met Roe on the day of her candidacy.
âEvery time she was in the room it was just brighter,â Caitlyn Ripley said. “She made life full.”
Benson misses the little things: her hugs, singing songs, and just lying in bed talking. Benson recalls that her favorite places to shop were the dollar store and thrift stores. She misses watching her jump across campus with her friends in tow.
“She would like us to live more freely, to stop overthinking,” Benson said.
Benson remembers their first meeting with Roe, entering the kitchen with a hot pink backpack and her basic overalls.
Roe’s roommate Makena Herb noted the same – Roe loved his overalls, but hated his shoes. Often, it would be up to his friends to get his forgotten shoes back.
âFree-spirited, she doesn’t really care what people think of her,â Herb said. “There was never a time when I didn’t laugh with her.”
In their room down the hall, Herb remembers once the duo blew up a remix of “Good Things Fall Apart”, played on repeat while Roe held the speaker like a boombox.
Roe loved music, listening to Shoreline Mafia and Matt Mason among her favorites.
Joining the sorority was not the obvious path for Roe at first, she actually had some hesitation in joining Greek life. But eventually she joined KKG.
âI think (joining the sorority) was the best thing that could have happened to him,â Herb said. “She loved Kappa so much.”
Benson also recalled conversations with Roe about what her new community has done for her.
âGoing to college helped her grow,â Benson said. âShe used to tell us that it helped her find ‘her’ people.
Erin Ripley, sister of Caitlyn Ripley, was Roe’s first roommate. They met very early on when recruiting for their sorority.
âShe wore what she wanted, she said what she wanted,â Erin Ripley said. “The moment you met her, you fell in love with her.”
Despite their strong friendship, Erin Ripley described Roe as her polar opposite. In one of their usual car conversations, a mutual friend said they wouldn’t have expected Erin Ripley and Roe to be so close.
âKate looked at me and said, ‘I needed someone like Erin in my life,’â Erin Ripley said. “The truth is, I needed someone like Kate.”
Erin Ripley misses spending all day together, having been hip tied 24/7 as roommates.
âWe were up all night,â Erin Ripley said. “We always went to bed when the other person went to bed.”
As a genuine and genuine person, Roe encouraged others around her to embrace their individuality as well.
âI think Kate would like people to be just themselves,â said Erin Ripley. “Kate was just herself, she didn’t care what people thought of her.”
Roe’s friends have described her as caring and generous, always ready to listen. She didn’t care what other people thought, but cared deeply for the people around her.
âKate cared about people more than anyone,â Benson said.
âShe would literally do anything for the people she cared about, that was her passion,â said Caitlyn Ripley.
A fundraiser for a tree and bench in memory of Roe was well above its goal and will be used to plant a tree and donate four benches to a Boise Park.
âEach bench will have a quote of kindness engraved,â Roe’s family said in an update. “The hope is to remind those who use the area of ââthe importance of treating everyone with kindness, like Kate.”
The remaining funds will be used to help other students with financial aid.
Haadiya Tariq can be reached at [emailÂ protected] or on Twitter @haadiyatariq