U of R athletics leaders will remember balloon victims

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The University of Richmond continues to deal with tremendous loss as condolences pour in from across the country in  memory of Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis.

Understandably, this has been a tough couple of days for the entire Spider community. Athletic leaders said they will share their personal memories of Coach Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis on Tuesday.

In the meantime, memorials have already been planned in the hometowns of these two women.

The loss of these two lives is being felt in communities up and down the east coast. Coach Doyle was a standout at her high school in Philadelphia, where a moment of silence was held. Lewis's mother took to Twitter, posting photos of her beloved daughter who seemed to be just starting her life.

Lewis had just gotten engaged a few weeks ago to the man her family called the love of her life. "We now include him as another son in our grieving family," the family said in a statement.  In Lewis's hometown of Buffalo, N.Y.,  a special mass was held in her honor.

"Natalie was a vibrant young woman great athlete. A very inspiring young lady," said Father Fred Betti. Lewis had just started her professional career at the University of Richmond after her career as a standout Spider swimmer.

The family said, "Natalie's University of Richmond family has surrounded us as well during these difficult days."

On Monday, Lewis' mother tweeted a photo of a Mother's Day card signed by the University of Richmond's swim team with the hashtag #SpiderStrong.  There are a variety of photos showing the women at the hot air balloon event, smiling and excited for the trip. These photos the last images of two women taken too soon.

A Time Of Remembrance in memory of Doyle and  Lewis will be held at Cannon Memorial Chapel on the Richmond campus May 14, at 10 a.m.

University Chaplain Craig Kocher and director of catholic life and campus minister Tom Mullen will preside over the service.

The university community, public and media are invited to attend. No digital or video cameras are permitted in the chapel.

Parking is available in the chapel parking lot, w41. Visitors to campus should be aware the river road entrance to the university is closed at this time. Click here for campus parking map.

Flags on campus have been lowered to half-staff today through Wednesday. A formal memorial service is planned for the fall.

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