Editor's Note: This is the second and final installment in a series profiling the lives, families and friends of the seven ISU students who lost their lives over the summer months. The Daily chose to profile two, Matt Grosserode and Melissa Reicks, who were seniors and returning ISU students. Reicks was the last student to pass away this summer.
Live, love, laugh. One ISU student made this her motto to live by until her life was cut short August 11.
Melissa Reicks would have been a senior in marketing and production operations management this year.
She was killed in a two vehicle accident at the intersection of U.S. Highway 52 and County Road B-16 in central Iowa when another driver failed to yield at a stop sign and hit the passenger side of the car in which Melissa was riding, said Josh Reicks, Melissa's cousin and senior in political science.
Three people were in the Oldsmobile Alero with Melissa at the time of the accident.
Two people were in the Ford F350 truck that broadsided the car. Melissa was the only fatality in the accident.
Her parents, Dale and Laura Reicks of Lawler, said Melissa planned on working part-time at the State Farm Insurance Agency in Ames and taking 18 credits this semester.
"She told me this past summer that she could graduate earlier with a single major, but adding the double major was good because it was more of a challenge," Laura said.
"That was Melissa — wanting more and willing to do more, so she could become more."
A memorial service was held for Reicks on the ISU campus September 7. Now, Melissa's friends are adjusting to a new school year without her.
"This year is going to be quite different without her," said Cari Laures, honorary casket bearer for Melissa's funeral and senior in journalism and communication. "Mel was always the glue that held a lot of friendships together. She was everyone's best friend and always wanted all of her friends around her."
Back in Lawler, Reicks' family said their home isn't the same without Melissa's "great smile and brown eyes that seemed to say, 'Let's go!'"
"She was always ready for the next day and what it would bring," Laura said.
"She didn't spend much time looking back and had a great energy and vision for the future."
Melissa attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn. for one year before transferring to Iowa State. She quickly became an avid Cyclone fan and had an ISU pennant buried with her in the casket, Laura said.
"When [Melissa] transferred to Iowa State she said, 'I feel at home at ISU, the students are my kind of people,'" Laura said.
Kaylie Reicks, Melissa's 8-year-old sister, remembers Melissa as "happy, helpful and fun to be around."
Most of all, Melissa's laugh will be what friends and family said they'll remember and cherish most.
"What I would do to hear just one more of your great laughs," wrote Melissa's brother, Brady, in a poem he composed shortly after her death.
Another poem provided by Melissa's family put it similarly.
"One day God was feeling blue and He knew what He had to do. He took Melissa from us … for now she's laughing with him too."