Friends remember Geller’s strength, passion

Justin Runquist

To her friends, Laura Geller defined what it meant to be a Villanovan.

Devon Healy ’02 described how she shaped the Villanova experience for those who came in contact with her.

“Laura touched everyone she ever knew,” Healy said. “She always brought out the best in people.”

Geller, who died Nov. 12 of cancer, is remembered by those close to her as passionate, determined and funny.

While at the University, she was a C&F peer counselor, participated in intramural soccer and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega until her junior year.

In addition, Geller and her friends became regulars at local eateries. She loved going to the Wild Onion on weekends, where she could relax with friends and enjoy her favorite peach cocktails.

She also frequented restaurants like Minella’s Diner and Boston Market for lunch, or John Harvard’s where she would order her favorite dish, an artichoke and spinach dip that always included a side of mashed potatoes and sour cream.

Geller’s passion for life left a lasting impact on those who knew her. “Laura always wanted to go skydiving. She loved Hollywood and traveling across Europe,” close friend Dana Dalle Molle ’02 said. “She wasn’t a boring person and she wasn’t going to sit home.”

This was true even when Geller’s illness grew more serious. Dalle Molle commented that Geller did not let her illness restrict her from actively enjoying life. “Even when she was sick, we loved to drive everywhere,” she said. “From the first time I met her, I could tell she was a strong-minded person.”

Dalle Molle attributes Geller’s strength of character to the determination she showed throughout her whole bout with cancer. “I remember visiting her in the hospital after my first day of work. She was obviously in a significant deal of pain,” she recalled. “But all she really wanted was to hear about my day. This really defined the kind of person she was.”

Dalle Molle continued, “She always knew her views and she always defended them. She was up on current events.”

Friends say that Geller’s boyfriend, Brian Hoelzle ’02, was a tremendous source of inspiration for her. “There was a mutual help between them that was so natural,” Dalle Molle said.

Healy agreed. “She made him want to be a better person.”

While Geller strongly touched the University community, her lasting impact stretched beyond the Main Line.

An overflowing amount of people attended her memorial service. They traveled from as far as Maine, Pittsburgh, New York City, Boston, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

– News Editor Kathleen Noone contributed to this report.