Mourners who gathered at Boston University on Monday remembered Lu Lingzi as a happy young woman who always worked hard in school, loved baking and playing piano, and who dreamed of romance and a happy family life.
Lu, a native of Shenyang, China, who would have turned 24 in August, was one of three people killed one week earlier when bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Her father, Lu Jun, said in a eulogy delivered in Chinese that she had been “thrilled and ecstatic” when she was accepted as a graduate student in statistics at BU, according to a translation.
She had been a diligent student from her earliest school days, but also a spirited entertainer.
“She was the family’s Shirley Temple, if you will,” he said. “A little elf, and a little jolly girl bringing everybody in the family ceaseless laughter, lightheartedness, and fun.”
About 600 people, including Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, packed the hall inside the George Sherman Union, where a slideshow depicted Lu at many ages: as a toddler blowing the seeds from a dandelion, playing piano as a little girl with two long pigtails, and as a young woman snuggling a little stuffed dog.
In many images, she flashed a peace sign, and always there was the smile that several speakers described as warm and infectious.
Lu Lingzi’s cousin, Meng “Zach” Ziyong, remembered how she encouraged him to work as hard in school as she did, and how they were able to fulfill their shared dream of studying in the United States.
“She is a bright, happy, and joyful girl,” Meng said in English. “We grew up together, and we also arrived to America together.”
Lingzi’s academic adviser, professor Eric D. Kolaczyk, said Lu was a student who struggled with and ultimately overcame the unique challenge of building a new life far from home while communicating every day in her second language.
Her roommate, Jing Li, recalled how they met in a chat room last April 11, both seeking someone to room with, and how they quickly discovered how much they had in common.
“I was so grateful that I found such a sister, but I had no idea that friendship would only last one year,” Jing said.
She remembered Lu as someone who was afraid of mice and regularly burned her breakfast, and said they sometimes lamented that with their heavy academic responsibilities, they were “too busy to go out and meet nice boys.”
Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly named the Boston University hall where a memorial was held for Marathon bombing victim Lu Lingzi. It was the George Sherman Union hall.