Friends and family of Wendy Van Leuveren are in shock. They’re grieving, and they’re looking for answers. But one thing is very clear—the sudden
death of this well-known and well-loved woman is a tragedy that has rocked many throughout the Tucson community.
On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Wendy took her own life after a mostly-private struggle with mental illness. The death of this beloved mother, partner, daughter, sister and friend came as a surprise to many, as is evident in the numerous posts and comments on the “Remembering Wendy Van L” Facebook page, created on Aug. 31, and had 670 followers as of the evening of Sept. 13.
Loved ones also created the “Wendy Van Leuveren Memorial Fund” to raise money for Wendy’s partner Cameron Green and their young son Escher, to help ease financial responsibilities while they grieve. By Tuesday evening, supporters had raised $5,153 of the $6,000 goal and shared the post on Facebook 390 times.
Wendy moved to Holland earlier this year with her partner and son, leaving behind an abundance of family, friends and admirers in Tucson and across the country.
Her foster-sister and close friend Nellie Cornett posted on the remembrance Facebook page, “Wendy was always bad ass,” remembering the time a teenage Wendy calmly navigated a truck full of youth to safety after the brakes had gone out.
“She was always hungry for being better, doing better, having a principled and moral approach to everything,” Nellie posted. “She always strove to be a better friend.”
It’s obvious, scrolling through the posts, Wendy was a great friend. She was kind and smart—a business woman and community organizer. She was an artist and a great beauty—stunning and stylish. Even those who didn’t know her well—something that many wrote in their FB posts—were touched by her charm.
Loved ones will be holding a memorial to celebrate Wendy’s life on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Galactic Center at 35 E. Toole Ave. People are encouraged to submit art to be hung on the walls at the memorial—something that reminds them of Wendy. Art and poetry can be submitted into a Google Drive at this link. To submit art that isn’t digital, email firstname.lastname@example.org or just bring them to the memorial.