MILTON — A 13-year-old girl, remembered as a beautiful spirit with a bright smile, was killed Wednesday in a boating accident while vacationing with her family in Aruba, relatives said Friday.
Cassidy Murray, a seventh-grader at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, had an “ever-present smile, infectious laugh, and upbeat personality,” the head of school wrote in an e-mail to the school community.
“Classmates gravitated to her because of her genuine kindness and quiet modesty,” Jennifer Price wrote. “Her friends knew from the very first week of school that she would be a trusted, warm confidant with a great sense of fun and camaraderie. Cassidy was also known for taking on new challenges with a sense of adventure and joy.”
In a statement, the girl’s family said Cassidy’s “beautiful spirit, genuinely kind heart, bright mind, and joyful zest for life will be profoundly missed by all who knew and loved her.”
“We thank everyone for their love and support and we ask that you please give us the time and space to grieve together privately during this difficult time,” said the girl’s parents, David Murray and Linda Navin-Murray, and their son, Adam, a 10th-grader at Buckingham Browne & Nichols.
Authorities in Aruba could not be reached for comment about the accident. Social media postings show emergency medical technicians providing medical care on a beach with her family gathered around her.
Cassidy went to Glover Elementary and Pierce Middle School in Milton before attending Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Milton’s public schools Superintendent James Jette said.
“Cassidy was an outstanding and joyful student ... who left an indelible impression on her peers and the faculty and staff” at both schools.
In an interview, Price said “this is a parent’s worst nightmare.”
“She was just a kid who everyone gravitated towards,” she said. “She was just an infectious, kind kid who it literally took no time for to become part of our community ... it’s such a tragedy that we lost someone so special.”
Cassidy’s brother plays on the school’s soccer team, Price said.
“Not only do we have to mourn the loss of Cassidy but we need to do everything we can to support Adam to make it through what must be so difficult for him,” Price said. “This is a young man who has just been through the unimaginable these last few days and anything we can do to support him is really important.”
A dedicated gymnast, Cassidy played ice hockey for the first time this winter, the school said.
“She came out of her shell towards the end of the season, happily playing against much stronger teams and just enjoying being out on the ice,” her coach said in Price’s letter to the school community.
On the steps of the family’s home, friends had placed bouquets of flowers. In a note on the door, the family asked for privacy and said officials at the Cambridge school will speak on their behalf.
Edward Keohane, a family friend who lives across the street, said Cassidy was a regular presence in his home as a babysitter and mother’s helper. Keohane and his wife, Krista, have two children, ages 4 and 7, he said.
“She was an angel‚” he said. “She had an ear-to-ear smile.”
Cassidy was mourned on Facebook by a restaurant in Aruba that included a picture of Cassidy smiling as she sat in a hammock. The posting was composed as if written to her.
Dearest Cassidy, On a day that was supposed to be your last fun day of a family vacation on Aruba, a terrible accident...Posted by Bugaloe on Friday, March 25, 2022
“Dearest Cassidy, on a day that was supposed to be your last fun day of a family vacation on Aruba, a terrible accident prevented that you could go on with the life that you had just begun living,” the posting reads.
“We cannot find enough words to express our feelings of disbelief, sadness and sorrow. It is just so unfair and not right. We had the privilege of meeting your mom, dad and brother, and although we did not know you, through them we know you were an extraordinary girl,” it reads.
On Saturday, BB&N will open its middle school for parents and students who wish to gather, Price said. After notifying the school community about Cassidy’s death on Thursday she attended the wake for Michael McGrath, the father of a senior on the girls hockey team, who was killed in a car crash earlier this month. He was 56.
“It’s been a challenging few weeks for our school,” Price said.
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.