Northern Iowan

Remembering Justin and Tristan

SOFIA LEGASPI, Campus Life Editor

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Over one hundred UNI students and community members gathered at the Campanile to honor the lives of Justin Kime and Tristan Marlow on Monday night, Feb. 18.

Kime and Marlow died after sustaining injuries in a weather-related car accident in Grundy County on Sunday, Feb. 17.

Marlow was a senior religion major from Council Bluffs, Iowa. Kime was a senior from Minnesota majoring in management information systems. He was involved with the UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club, which sang at Monday’s Campanile vigil.

Both Marlow and Kime were heavily involved with St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center and the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. The car accident occurred while the students were en route back from the Iowa Rally of College Knights in Des Moines, according to KWWL.

Those who knew Justin and Tristan were invited to send in their memories of the two men and the impact they left on their lives.

“Tristan and Justin were both incredible friends. Both of them were always there with a smile and a joke to cheer up anyone they could,” wrote Kaelyn Knaack, a junior management information systems major. “Whenever we had a test in one of our classes, [Justin] would text me that morning saying, ‘Good morning, Sunshine! Good luck today!’”

Junior leisure, youth and human services major Kyle Skoumal recalled joining Glee Club halfway through the school year and feeling out of place.

“[Justin] literally moved a chair into the middle of an aisle so I could sit with him. He made me so feel so welcomed into the brotherhood of Glee,” Skoumal wrote. “He went out of his way to make me feel welcome, something he did tirelessly in his life to everyone around him.”

“He was a type of friend that could be counted on no matter the time of day or however busy he was,” said junior supply chain management major Kyler Yodts.

Isaac Neppel, a peer minister at St. Stephen, said he didn’t know the two men as well as others, but described Kime as “the reserved guy in the corner who always looked out for others.” Neppel shared a story he had heard from a friend about Marlow that occurred the Saturday before the accident, illustrating his sense of humor and optimism.

“Tristan and Paul were at a dinner,” Neppel wrote. “And as dessert was being served, Tristan came over to Paul and posed the question, ‘Is the life of a Christian meant to serve or be served?’ Paul answered, ‘I have a feeling this is a trick question, but a Christian life should be one of service toward others.’ I can only imagine Tristan’s smile and his response, ‘Then thank you for serving me’ as he took Paul’s dessert.”

Ben Schafer, faculty advisor for the Knights of Columbus council, highlighted Kime’s charisma, as well.

“His dry and quirky [sic] sense of humor was always in the background and he knew when to use it to make people relax,” Schafer wrote. “Justin was this year’s Grand Knight. He was a born leader who wore his faith openly.”

The two students’ commitment to their faith was a prevalent theme in people’s memories of them.

“I learned boldness from Justin,” wrote Louren Kilburg, junior elementary and middle level education major. “He was so passionate about his faith and unafraid to speak this to others.”

“Anyone who knew Tristan and Justin well knew that their Catholic faith was at the core of their lives,” said Jon Seda, chaplain of St. Stephen the Witness. “They died as they lived, serving the Lord.”

“[They] were two of the finest young men I have ever met,” wrote John Hlas, financial secretary of UNI Knights of Columbus. “Their dedication and willingness to lead our council was unparalleled.”

“[Tristan’s] energetic personality mixed with a strong faith life pushed me to taking the first step in my college faith life,” wrote senior math education major Bed Felderman, who first met Marlow during a St. Stephen retreat. “The person I am today is because of Tristan.”

Felderman knew Kime as his small group leader. 

“[He] would push me to think deeper, take on weekly challenges, and brought the group closer,” Felderman said.

David Konfrst, business management major and Marlow’s best friend since 2013, first met him on a trip to West Virginia for the Boy Scouts of America.

“After knowing each other for only a few hours, we bonded quickly and shared a plethora of memories on that trip alone,” Konfrst wrote. “No matter who you were, Tristan would not hesitate to reach out and help those in need.”

UNI alum Austin Errthum said that Marlow was also one of his best friends. He recalled their weekly bible studies, annual trips to Minneapolis and Marlow’s support at his football games.

“He was always joking and full of laughter,” Errthum said. “We also call him Nacho, I don’t know why because it was made in high school, but he really does love his nachos. Tristan lived life to the fullest to say the least.”

“He was a great friend, leader, kind, caring person,” wrote Josh Malek, a sophomore elementary education and middle education major who worked with Marlow at Biscotti’s. “I will miss his funny comments and our great conversations we have had together. I am going to miss how great of an individual he is and just his pure smile every time I go into work.”

Will Van Soelen, junior elementary education major, first met Tristan in high school and Justin through St. Stephen.

“Tristan had a way of making people laugh and brightening your day like no one else could,” he wrote. “Justin always greeted me with a big smile and made me feel very welcomed when I transferred to UNI last spring. I will miss them both more than words can describe.”

Those seeking support can contact the UNI Counseling Center at 319-273-2676 or find more information at counseling.uni.edu.

 

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A complete list of contributions can be found below:

“I knew both Tristan and Justin well from St. Stephen. Justin was one of the most kind people I have ever met. He was always there to say hi and ask how your day was going. He was very passionate about the Knights of Columbus as was Tristan. They served multiple places and helped a lot of people. Both of them had a deep faith and were striving to get to know God more. Justin was so down to earth and had a knack for making you feel welcome. I also got to know his girlfriend a little bit through a class and he and her were a perfect match. He really cared for her and everyone he was around. Now Tristan, he was one of my best friends. I met him on a church retreat 4 years ago and we’ve been in the same friend group ever since, many of which I am sure are in this post. We had bible study together once a week, most weekends were spent together, we’d take an annual trip to Minneapolis each winter just to go on an adventure for a weekend. Tristan went to football games just to see me kick. He was always joking and full of laughter. We also call him Nacho I don’t know why because it was made in high school but he really does love his nachos. Tristan lived life to the fullest to say the least. I will cherish my memories with both of them!” (Austin Errthum, graduated December 2018, biology education)

“Tristan and Justin were two fine young men who lived their lives as true examples of what it means to be Knight.  Both felt a calling to serve with the Knights of Columbus not only as active members of our local council but for the larger “Good of the Order.”  After serving as Grand Knight in our council during the 2017-18 school year Tristan had accepted a role as a District Deputy overseeing multiple councils in the Cedar Valley and serving on the national College Councils Advisory Board. His dry and qwirky [sic] sense of humor was always in the background and he knew when to use it to make people relax. Justin was this year’s Grand Knight.  He was a born leader who wore his faith openly.  He saw the big picture of what our organization was and what he, and his brother knights, could become.  He continually encouraged us to be better men. Both will leave holes in our council that simply won’t get filled.” (Ben Schafer, faculty advisor for the Knights of Columbus council)

“I’ve had the privilege of being Tristan’s best friend since 2013. We first met during a planning trip to West Virginia for the Boy Scouts of America. After knowing each other for only a few hours, we bonded quickly and shared a plethora of memories on that trip alone. Since that trip, Tristan and I have hung out on numerous occasions with our Norwalk friend group, always going to see movies and celebrating life accomplishments. No matter who you were, Tristan would not hesitate to reach out and help those in need. Rest in Peace brother.” (David Konfrst, senior, business management)

“I became acquainted with both Tristan and Justin after they joined the UNI Knights of Columbus Council. Early on, they assumed leadership roles. As a non-student, community member of the student center, my role on our college council is that of the Financial Secretary. As one of the older members, I also endeavor to provide mentoring and feedback to all our members, most especially those whom assume leadership roles. Tristan and Justin were two of the finest young men I have ever met. Their dedication and willingness to lead our council was unparalleled. Their faith and commitment to the student center and our council was equally unmatched. We remain devastated over their passing and call upon their own passionate faith to help us move forward. I am proud to have mentored and worked with each of them and most meaningfully, am honored to call them brothers and friends.” (John Hlas, financial secretary of UNI Knights of Columbus and community member at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center)

“I did not know Tristan or Justin very well, but I knew them through many conversations and social gatherings, but was not close friends with either of them. There are others who can share more than I. However, I can tell you a general sense of who they were.

“The best way I can describe Tristan was a story a friend (Paul) told me which occurred the Saturday before he passed. Tristan and Paul were at a dinner and as dessert was being served, Tristan came over to Paul and posed the question “Is the life of a Christian meant to serve or be served?” Paul answered, “I have a feeling this is a trick question, but a Christian life should be one of service toward others.” I can only imagine Tristan’s smile and his response “Than thank you for serving me” as he took Paul’s dessert. This reflects Tristan’s laughter, unique sense of humor, and optimistic spirit.

“Justin was the reserved guy in the corner who always looked out for others. He was the one who welcomed freshman and helped them overcome the loneliness many of us experience our freshman year. It was his humility and faith which enabled him to give himself for others and to be a fantastic leader at St. Stephen. His generosity and humility will be missed.” (Isaac Neppel, peer minister at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center)

“I knew Justin from St. Stephens and some classes we took together. He was the type of guy that went out of his way to say hello and to give a handshake. He was a type of friend that could be counted on no matter the time of day or however busy he was. He was a perfect example of selflessness in the way he served his community.” (Kyler Yodts, junior, supply chain management)

“My freshman year I joined the Glee club during the Spring semester, I only knew a couple people and felt out of place to join halfway through the year. Justin, already a friend from St. Stephen, literally moved a chair into the middle of an aisle so I could sit with him. He made me so feel so welcomed into the brotherhood of Glee. This is one of my favorite memories of a cherished friend who had a knack for seeing the good in those around him. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome, something he did tirelessly in his life to everyone around him.

“During my first semester of school, I made my way into St. Stephen during the day to socialize and get to know people. I was greeted by Tristan and Clare, a student minister at St. Stephen. Both were talking about WWE wrestling, something I was not very knowledgeable about. They spent the next hour or so explaining the history of WWE, why they enjoyed it, and who their favorite wrestlers were. Tristan invited me to watch the ‘Royal Rumble’ later that evening with him, and I had a blast yelling at the TV and listening to him patiently explain what was going on and who he was rooting for. I loved to talk to him about that ever since, a very memorable night for me and a testament to his welcoming character. (Kyle Skoumal, junior, leisure, youth and human services)

“I learned boldness from Justin. He was so passionate about his faith and unafraid to speak this to others. His life of living faith touched so many, and I am so grateful to have been included in that group.” (Louren Kilburg, junior, elementary and middle level education)

“I first met Tristan on St. Stephen’s annual Antioch retreat. He was also my prayer partner on this retreat. This allowed us to have a nice long talk about who we were and share stories about our faith. He was the first person truly got to know at St. Stephens. In days after the retreat, the conversation continued on into a great friendship. We would often be at St. Stephen’s together working on homework and having friendly conversations. This lead him to convince me to join the Knights of Columbus. He was the Grand Knight at the time so I decided to join my friend and this amazing organization. I have love every minute of it from growing in my faith to helping the community to finding new project to take on. His energetic personality mixed with a strong faith life pushed me to taking the first step in my college faith life. The person I am today is because of Tristan.

“Justin and I were introduced into our Knights of Columbus council together and he was my small group leader. We became close and would often discuss the next Marvel coming out, catch on each other lives, etc. As a small group leader, we would push me to think deeper, take on weekly challenges, and brought the group closer. These great leadership qualities lead the council to vote him as our Grand Knight this past year. He did amazing job in terms of bringing new ideas and new members into the council. He was would always say yes to anything that would help to benefit the Knights or the people around him. This was the typical happy, cheerful, loving personality that Justin leaves behind. He will miss his kind heart and big smile.” (Ben Felderman, senior, mathematics teaching)

“I knew Tristan as my boss on Tuesday nights working with him at Biscotti’s. He was a great friend, leader, kind, caring person […] I am going to be missing out funny conversations we had together while working together and a great friend who just cheer me up whenever he can. It hurts to see him gone so young and it hurts that he has gone in and ugh little time. I just wish that he was here and that I wish that there was more that I can have said to him. I will miss his funny comments, and our great conversations we have had together. I am going to miss how of a great individual he is and just his pure smile every time I go into work. I am going to miss a lot that he had given me as a leader for Biscotti’s. I am just going to miss a good friend and great boss.” (Josh Malek, sophomore, elementary education and middle education)

“Tristan had a way of making people laugh and brightening your day like no one else could. Justin always greeted me with a big smile and made me feel very welcomed when I transferred to UNI last spring. I first met Tristan when he transferred to my high school our sophomore year, and I met Justin through our church, St. Stephens. I still don’t know how to put what has happened into words. Tristan had a way of making people laugh and brightening your day like no one else could. Justin always greeted me with a big smile and made me feel very welcomed when I transferred to UNI last spring. I will miss them both more than words can describe.” (Will Van Soelen, junior, elementary education)

“Anyone who knew Tristan and Justin well knew that their Catholic faith was at the core of their lives.  They died as they lived, serving the Lord.” (Fr. Jon Seda, chaplain of St. Stephen the Witness)

“Tristan and Justin were both incredible friends. Both of them were always there with a smile and a joke to cheer up anyone they could. Justin and I were in the same major and whenever we had a test in one of our classes, he would text me that morning saying, “Good morning, Sunshine! Good luck today!” That just shows the caring heart that he had. I know in my heart that he will always be cheering me on.” (Kaelyn Knaack, junior, management information systems)

Justin was a good friend with a kind-heart. He always made me happy and truly cared about everyone. I knew Justin from St. Stephen’s and Knights of Columbus. Tristan was the best friend and brother I always wanted. I loved living with him and will miss our fun conversations. Tristan was my roommate and friend who I first met at St. Stephen’s.” (Will Poffenberger, senior, construction management)

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