University of Michigan Memorial Service

Friday January 19, 2001

Don DeSander

A story
in fragments:

I guess with the beginning: You and I disagreed with each other in a printmaking class, where I thought I had lost my chance to meet you before I ever really did.

Or was the beginning in April, during a fit of boredom? We had been drawing and painting in my room for several hours, and were ready to explore the outside world by making our own with three rocks and a camera.

origami_hatsNo. It must have been before that, in March, while finger painting and talking of independence.

The beginning was certainly before long hours in a café, although it was very apparent then, as it was also apparent during a dinner while wearing our own hats. Yours, a wedding hat. Mine, a crown. Both sprinkled with origami flowers.

Perhaps it was late July, running together in the warm rain of Durham. No, that was when I told you, but that wasn’t the beginning.

don_candy_durhamI think the beginning, the deposit of the particle from which every other experience and emotion built upon, occurred a full year ago. You said you wanted to work on a zine with me. The next time that we met, you overwhelmed me with poetry and two short stories. You surprised me. You impressed me. You inspired me.

You did that often.


Stephanie Coggins

When I think about Candy, I picture her face first. Often she looked very serious, but when she smiled she had two types of smiles: full and gleeful, and one I liked to call the “ironic smile.” When we were freshmen and had met for the first time, I encountered Candy as she was leaving the bathroom, her head wrapped in a huge, light blue towel. She immediately recognized me and gave me the ironic smile. I felt so special when she smiled at me then because for the short time that I had known her, I knew that she was a special girl.

w_stephanie_cogginsThe very first time I noticed her was during a hall meeting that first week of school. I saw her and immediately I thought, “She looks so cool. She’s probably popular already. She’d never want to be my friend.” But I was wrong. Much to my surprise and pleasure, Candy approached me first. She liked to write too, and I guess we both thought it would be good for us to be friends. So that’s how it happened.

During that first year here at the University of Michigan, we would go to movies, and eat dinner together, and talk about our lives and our ideas, and cry and laugh, and dance, and sing Bjork songs. We had so much fun that year. Like most friends, there would be times when we’d get frustrated with each other… even into sophomore year when we were roommates, but there was always love. We were like sisters. I never worried that she would be really mad at me, and I never once was really mad at her. Our friendship was founded on mutual respect, but I also saw her as my little sister or my baby, someone I needed to protect. And thinking about it now, I think she saw me in the same light. Candy was always concerned about my social life, and she wanted for me to make friends and to go out more often. Sometimes I wondered why she urged me to do these things, but I understand now that she just did not want me to be

Another part of Candy that I admired was her skill at making art. She had a wonderful eye for drawing and painting and creating beautiful images out of thin air. Her hands were so delicate, and I can still see her making origami shapes out of folding paper, her fingers working diligently. I loved to just watch her sometimes when she drew. She would devote so much energy into making it right, but to me it looked as if it came very easily to her. Candy is and was a truly gifted person. I know that there will always be a void left to fill in my life now, since I’ve always felt that there is no one else at this school that I could relate to as well as I could with Candy. Sometimes I think about things that she would’ve thought was funny or absurd or interesting, and I feel sad when I remember that I can’t share those things with her anymore. But when she was with me, we were able to do that, and I can remember those times and smile.

Matthew Neagle

During the early spring, Don, Matt, Alistair, Candy, and I met up together for a late night adventure. Our mission was to get onto the rooftops of the Ann Arbor shopping district and to overlook the campus from atop Nickels Arcade. To get onto the rooftop, we had to sneak down an alleyway, climb onto some pipes, and then jump up, grab a hold of the roof edge, and pull ourselves onto the roof. It was no easy task. I will always remember Candy’s demeanor throughout the entire process: Cool, calm, and collected. In her mind, a stroll along the roof was no different than a stroll through the park. She did not hesitate a bit when it was her turn to step on the pipes and fling herself onto the roof. I think her willing response to this task speaks to her desire to try new things and to see the world from new perspectives. Candy and I had our first real conversation that night, standing together above the bustling streets of Ann Arbor with the warm spring nighttime air reminding us that we were young and free.

I met a new person that night besides Candy. His name was Don. I had been friends with Don for quite some time, but that night he was not the same person I had known. Something was different about him, something subtle yet profound. He walked a little peppier, he smiled a little more, and he laughed a bit easier. Almost as though he was walking through a world of pure chocolate, his favorite indulgence. He tried to be cool. He tried to be smooth. He tried to be Don. But, there was no hiding it. Later that night, both Alistair and I agreed, without a doubt, that Don had a crush on Candy. He was too happy not to be in love.

I will always remember that night. It was spring, a time for new things to blossom. A friendship. A relationship.

Ben White

I met Candy when she moved into the new house across the street with her mom. We were introduced by the builder, a mutual friend, who thought we would enjoy meeting each other. We quickly became very close friends and shared many good times together.

Candy enjoyed going to the beach. We went twice last summer. One hot, bright day as we were hauling our things to the beach looking for a place to set up, she said “I hate sand”. I laughed and said something about how hot it was. She said “I hate bright sunlight”. I asked if she was looking forward to getting in the water and she said “not really, but we can if you want to”. We both exploded with laughter at this point and tried to figure out what was left of a beach experience if you don’t like the sand, the light, or the water. We found the perfect spot: Under the pier in the shade where it was cool and the sand was packed.

On the next trip, we again enjoyed jumping the waves and returning to our perfect spot. Candy started working with the sand, making a big frog and a fish, enjoying not only the sand sculptures themselves but the responses of the people walking past. She was always busy, always creative. I used to wonder why she liked the beach so much as a whole when she didn’t seem to like the parts and then it occurred to me that the problem was that the beach by itself was already complete. Candy looked at the world in terms of raw materials, not so much interested in what she saw but in what she could make out of them.

Request for the remembrances of others

Memorial Board

University of Michigan School of Art & Design students set up a memorial board for Candy.


eye candy issue no.1

University of Michigan School of Art & Design students created a “zine” dedicated to Candy, delivered in origami form.