Gayle Dubowski

Gayle Dubowski

Gayle Dubowski made friends at NIU immediately upon arrival as a freshman in the fall of 2006.

Dubowski’s family is a longtime member of the Chicago Church of Christ, which has a campus chapter in DeKalb. Chris Zillman, evangelist of the DeKalb Church of Christ, was her chaplain.

 “She had very deep beliefs and was very passionate about her faith. There are probably a lot of students who may not have known her personally but probably were invited to a Bible discussion by her,” Zillman said. “We’re always in the student center, and she was always there with us. She was shy, so it was hard for her to do, but she loved what she believed in that much.”

 The 20-year-old sophomore from Carol Stream was a bright student who was beginning her career path in anthropology.

 “Gayle had just declared anthropology as major last month,” said Professor Andrea Molnar, who had Dubowski in a cultural anthropology class this semester. “Gayle asked intelligent questions and made smart observations. She was a very active participant in the classroom and stood out for that reason.

 “I remember after one lecture her coming up and telling me about her Polish background,” Molnar added. “I had revealed I was born in Hungary, and the Eastern European connection seemed to strike a chord with her. I took that to mean that she was proud of her Polish heritage.”

Dubowski also was studying the Russian language and was strong academically in other subjects. “She was a go-to student,” said Jack Haines, an NIU English instructor. “She was a good writer and thinker – a top-shelf student.”

Yet she had a childlike side, Zillman said, and a unique sweetness. She loved to sing and to read books, especially by J.R.R. Tolkien. She knitted gifts for friends, he said, and even loved to wash dishes in other people’s homes.

 “Wherever she was going, she was always doing something for somebody, whether she was folding their clothes or doing their dishes,” he said. “If it rained, she’d run outside and jump in the puddles. When it snowed, you’d always find her buried somewhere, making a snow angel or tromping through the snow.”

Carol Stream, IL

Sophomore, age 20