‘Her memory will live on with everyone’: Friends and family remember Kaitlin St. Croix

Sac State student died in a head-on collision Jan. 9


Kelly Kiernan

Kaitlin St. Croix, a Sac State child development major and resident assistant, smiles for a photo in Desmond Hall following an interview with The State Hornet on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. St. Croix died in a head-on collision in Stanislaus County on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, according to Sac State university communications.

Madeleine Beck and Nijzel Dotson

Kaitlin St. Croix’s friends remember a tradition that most of them experienced with her at least once: going to Dutch Bros on the first of every month to get the coffee shop’s new sticker of the month.

“It doesn’t matter the time, it doesn’t matter whether we had homework, it’s ‘drop everything we’re doing’ just to get those stickers,” said Tiffany Jimenez, a nutrition major and a friend of St. Croix.

What her friends said they remembered the most was the car drives to Dutch Bros.

“The ride there would just be us singing our favorite songs. We had a playlist that we would play, and I’m sure there were so many people who went on that ride,” Jimenez said. “That was her thing.”

St. Croix, a student at Sac State and a resident assistant in Desmond Hall, died in a head-on collision in Stanislaus County on Jan. 9.

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St. Croix was born in Riverside and grew up in Moreno Valley, California, according to Annette Partida, St. Croix’s mother.

Growing up, St. Croix was a curious and observant child, Partida said.

“She loved to learn and she loved school,” Partida said. “She did not miss a day of elementary, middle or high school.”

Partida said she admired St. Croix’s funny and outgoing personality and her ability to connect with people.

“All the people she came across and knew and shared moments with, loved her,” Partida said. “She would take that love and share it with more people.”

St. Croix was undeclared but planned on declaring women’s studies as her major, said Michelle Trueblood, residence life coordinator for Desmond Hall.

St. Croix was a desk attendant, a former hall council member and Residence Hall Association Director for Desmond Hall, Trueblood said.

Friends described her personality as bubbly and warm.

“She was like a ray of sunshine,” said Jocelyn Lima, a child development major and a friend of St. Croix. “She was awesome. A person that you’d want to be around all the time.”

Jimenez got a tattoo to commemorate St. Croix, intertwining her face with a sunflower. Jimenez said that way, St. Croix could graduate alongside her.

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Photo courtesy of Tiffany Jimenez
Jimenez’s tattoo for St. Croix depicts St. Croix’s profile intertwined with a sunflower. St. Croix died in a head-on collision on Jan. 9, 2020.

“She had the most contagious laugh,” Jimenez said. “When she started laughing, it’d be like tears, like laughing, and everyone else around her would have to laugh.”

St. Croix’s friends recounted memories of listening to music with her, singing and dancing in the car and in the dorms.

“There would be times in between classes where we’d just go back to her room and we would just dance,” said St. Croix’s friend Angelica Mae Dorn, a psychology major.

Family and friends emphasized how caring St. Croix was.

“She was always there when you needed someone to listen to you,” Dorn said.

On Jan. 15, Desmond Hall staff opened a space in the hall for residents and staff to remember St. Croix, including a slideshow where students could upload their photos of her. Trueblood said University Housing is working on a permanent memorial for St. Croix.

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Madeleine Beck
The memorial for St. Croix in Desmond Hall, where she was a resident assistant. The memorial includes many door decorations she collected as a resident, as well as flowers and balloons.

“Jody and I were devastated to learn of Kaitlin’s death,” Sac State President Robert Nelsen said in an email statement. “As a student and resident advisor, she was a beloved member of the Hornet Family. We extend our deepest condolences to Kaitlin’s friends and family. She will be missed.”

A memorial for Kaitlin was held on Saturday at St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church in Riverside, said Partida.

At the service, housing staff and a few of St. Croix’s residents gave the family a memory book they compiled, Trueblood said.

“Her memory will live on with everyone,” Lima said. “All the residents that knew her, all the Sac State faculty or students that knew her, know that.”