News

Amanda Strous remembered as 'a shining light'

Written by Teresa Boeckel/The York Daily Record | Jun 22, 2016 7:08 AM
amanda_strous.jpg

Dallastown Area High School social studies teacher John Myers, center, and wife Barb Myers place candles at a memorial for 2007 Dallastown graduate Amanda Strous during a vigil outside her parents' home on Monday, June 20, 2016. The Myers knew Amanda and her family as fellow members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, and John Myers also taught both of Amanda's brothers in school. Strous was killed Saturday in an arson at her apartment in North Carolina. Jeff Lautenberger, For The York Daily Record

Amanda Strous "lived by her words, her rules, her morals and her faith," her mother said.

(Undated) -- A sea of mourners packed the streets in front of Amanda Strous' parents' home Monday night to remember the young woman who was beautiful and intelligent, loved to play field hockey, and planned to marry her fiance next month.

Mourners held candles, cried softly and wrote messages on the street in chalk. One said: "Forever loved -- you'll always be with us."

Strous' family thanked everyone for coming and for the outpouring of love and support following Amanda's death. Police say she was murdered in her apartment in Charlotte, N.C. over the weekend. A neighbor has been arrested in connection with her death.

Her mother, Crystal, shared during the vigil that her daughter had taken a class on grief and loss in graduate school. Amanda Strous had to write her own obituary. She had to share what she had accomplished and what she wanted to be remembered for. She had to write letters to her parents, her fiance and her friends.

They read what she had written, Crystal Strous said. They put it aside, thinking they weren't going to need it.

"I believe that we can all change the world," her mother said. "...This was a young lady who, when you talk about being the change, she was that change. She lived by her words, her rules, her morals and her faith."

Her mother read what Amanda Strous had written. She wanted to be remembered as a person who loved life to the fullest. She wanted to leave a positive impression with people she encountered through her lifetime. She wanted to be remembered for her hard work, dedication, honesty and integrity. She hoped that people would remember how accepting she tried to be and how she always tried to lend a helping hand or ear.

"I really like the idea of God's beauty defining me and working through me to show other people the good that comes from him," she wrote.

Amanda Strous, a Dallastown High School graduate, also wrote that she had a lot of passion in her life, including through coaching the sport she loved -- field hockey. The sport not only molded her into an athlete, but also shaped her into who she wanted to be -- on and off the field, her mother said.

Dozens of field hockey players from Shippensburg University, where Strous played and coached, came to the vigil to remember her.

Bertie Landes, the head field hockey coach at Shippensburg, said Amanda Strous played for her for four years. She developed into a great player and leader. She later coached with Landes for three years. Amanda enjoyed working with the girls and being involved in their lives -- on and off the field. She inspired others.

"She was just a shining light for our program," she said. "She walked onto the field and had a smile on her face. It was her haven."

Landes had texted Strous on Saturday morning to show her a picture of herself with a kangaroo in Australia. Landes had been coaching a field hockey team over there.

"Oh, awesome coach," Strous responded. She said she couldn't wait to touch base and talk about the trip.

Landes said Strous would call, text or email her to say:  "Coach, love ya. Anything you need, let me know."

Amanda Strous moved to Charlotte last year to be close to her fiance, relatives Bob and Kathy Sudak of Mechanicsburg said.

Strous and her fiance planned to marry on July 30. Everything had been booked at Heritage Hills, Bob Sudak said. The family had been looking forward to the wedding and couldn't wait to dance. Amanda Strous was a good dancer.

The family is "devastated," Kathy Sudak said.

Sisters Isabelle and Olivia Myers sang "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and "Amazing Grace" during the vigil. They had planned to perform at Strous' wedding next month.

"She was so excited," Olivia Myers said of the upcoming nuptials.

The Rev. Roger Mentzer of Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Dallastown asked the crowd to pray for the family and for everyone to find closure.

He also asked mourners how they are going to bring light into the lives of others as Amanda Strous did.

"How are you and I going to carry Amanda's light so that you and I can be absolutely sure that it will never go out?" he asked.

This story is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News

Tagged under , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Estate Planning

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Smart Talk

National Edward R. Murrow Awards

DuPont Columbia Awards

Support Local Journalism

Latest News from NPR

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »