Memorial to Whitney Bellinghausen
October 23, 2008
Whitney Bellinghausen memorial service on October 23, 2008
 
Whitney, a student at WOU majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting,
was severely injured in a car accident on a rural road in Oregon on January 21.
She passed away on February 13, 2008.
Her memorial service was held on Sunday, February 24th,
at Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington.
 
On the campus of Western Oregon University, a memorial tree was planted ~
 
Friends Ray and Jake
 
"Today, Oct. 23, 2008, on Whitney's 21st birthday, her friends at WOU gathered for a dedication of her memorial cherry blossom tree. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the air and crowd were still. Russell spoke of the meaning of her lovely little tree and how every spring its short lived beauty will be reborn. Beautiful words were spoken about her life and how much she means to so many. Then, as her friends and her big pink spotted dog looked on, the dirt was lovingly placed around her tree with gold shovels by Ray and Jake. A toast with pink sparkling cider was made to her, followed by a round of not totally on key "Happy Birthday" with a friend signing along. Then a bit of cider was shared with the tree.
 
Her friends love her so much and miss her, too, but I am sure they will continue to honor her memory as they did today. I think the tree even has Christmas decorations in its future!
 
Memorial plaque for Whitney Bellinghausen
 
Here is what her tree's memorial stone said at the bottom -
A true friend and inspiraton to all.
It was all so fitting for Whitney. The tree. The weather. The friends. The words. The hugs and tears. The toast. The song. The soft laughter at the end."
- Kim Erbes 
 
Whitney's tree guarded by her big pink dog
Her big pink spotted dog stands guard after the tree dedication.
 
Two days after her death, on February 15th, her father Jeff wrote the following in an online journal ~
 
Whitney was in love with American Sign Language and planned to attend Gallaudet University for the deaf in Washington DC as an exchange student. We have started a scholarship fund at Western Oregon University in Whitneys name to help others complete that dream.
 
Whitney Belllinghausen
 
On Tuesday, August 12, he added:
 

Whitney has been gone from this world for nearly six months now but her name and ideals will carry on in the “Whitney Bellinghausen Endowment Scholarship” at Western Oregon University. Today we signed papers permanently granting scholarships in Whitney’s name to help others defray the costs of studying at Gallaudet University in Washington DC as exchange students. Thank you for standing with us in creating this lasting memorial to our beautiful, loving daughter that will give to others unselfishly, year after year.

 
Location on campus:

On the lawn between Landers Hall and Lot J

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Journal entries by Kim Erbes and Jeff Bellinghausen were extracted from the Caring Bridge website.