Royal Oak Tribune
PAYING TRIBUTE TO TAYLOR
Memorial held at ROHS field for teen found dead at GVSU
They kept pouring onto the field Friday but not in celebration for an athletic win but to honor a friend and family member. Royal Oak High School stadium was the appropriate setting to honor the life of former ROHS student, Taylor DeRosa, an 18-yearold freshman at Grand Valley State University who was found dead last Saturday. Investigators are still at work calling her death suspicious.
The multi- purpose field was covered in snow, a lone lacrosse goal in one end honoring the former player, the stands empty. Hundreds of her friends gathered together to honor the young lady who put so much into a short life. Bishop Daryl Harris of Total Life Ministries was one who mourned and honored DeRosa. His message and prayer for her to the audience was that Taylor would forever be “Always loved and never forgotten.”
A steady stream of nearly a dozen friends came to the onfield microphone to tell stories through their tears about DeRosa’s love and interaction through sports and political involvement but mostly as a strong and always reliable friend.
Jack Rossbach reflected on the young woman’s impact.
“Taylor DeRosa was one of the most amazing people I knew. The way she held herself in spite of the world was something to aspire to… Taylor DeRosa changed my life and without her I don’t know where I’d be today,” he said.
Emma Brewster told the overflowing crowd “she represented a whole generation of change and a voice for those who were silent. She fought with a confidence that many
could only dream of having.”
Julia Shepard explained Taylor “was beautiful in mind, body and soul. She radiated kindness and passion…what made me lucky is that she loved with every ounce and fiber of her soul. In the third grade I spoke with a lisp which made me become an easy target in school. But I’ll never forget how Taylor looked them in the eye and said, ‘ it’s a Polish accent, so just be quiet.’...to this day it’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”
One of the last to see
her, Aiden Lifter, spoke of his “friend for life” knowing that she would never be forgotten. “Taylor loved to live life to the fullest. I’m going to miss her a lot.”
Jenny Mollencopf had known DeRosa since middle school and through tears and heavily fogged glasses offered a loving tribute: “Taylor was the person who tried to make everyone have peace.”
She recalled her first car aptly named Big Red by DeRosa, who strapped herself into the backseat with multiple seat belts but then couldn’t get out.
“We had dance parties for hours on end. She would always start dancing and never stop. She was a dancing queen and the life
of the party,” she said.
Elliot Widd first met DeRosa as chidren at the YMCA and knew he wanted her to like him.
“She had that effect on people. You want to spend time with her and you want her to like you. A lot of people we like because they are interesting and other people we like because they are nice to you. Taylor was the rare breed that was both,” he said.
TJ Williams honored his friend with an acapella song, “I’ll Think About You.” He recalled being on homecoming court with her
“She told me she was so proud of me and to continue basically sharing my gift,” he said.
The aptly chosen song included the phrases: “I don’t know where you’re going but I’ll meet you there. I can’t blame you for leaving but it’s still not fair. And when I don’t know what to sing. I’d sing about you… Now I don’t know what to do now that you’re not here. I don’t know how to love, don’t know how to feel. But I don’t want to believe. It’s all I can do. To keep her here with me…”
A GoFundMe page set up to cover expenses for the family has raised over $ 67,000. Everyone was asked to remember and honor Taylor by tying a blue ribbon to anything in Royal Oak to “Turn Royal Oak Blue for Taylor.”