Missouri Western student Haylee Danielle Smither, 21, passed away Feb. 18, 2017, at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph after being involved in a car accident.
Smither was working toward a degree in Business Administration. Her close friend and fellow student, Heaven Bryant, said Smither had a very specific goal in mind.
“Her dad has a metal business and she was always helping out with that. That’s why she went into the business field, she wanted to help manage that once she graduated,” Bryant said.
Bryant and Smither met when Bryant moved to Savannah, where both of them played softball for their high school team.
“She was instantly my first friend at Savannah, and we became very close,” Bryant said.
Ashley Lawrence had known Smither all her life – it started with softball as well.
“Our dads played softball together when Haylee and I were just in diapers,” Lawrence said.
They then went on to attend kindergarten, elementary school and even Western together.
“We were inseparable all through the years,” Lawrence said. “One of my favorite parts about Haylee’s personality was her selflessness. She never thought about herself, always others.”
According to Lawrence, Smither loved life.
“She had one of the most contagious laughs you’ve ever heard, and she always used it,” Lawrence said. “In 20 years of knowing Haylee, I can count on one hand the amount of times I saw her upset.”
Bryant described Smither as someone who could connect with everyone around her.
“It wasn’t like she had certain friends or a friend group, she wanted to be friends with everyone,” Bryant said. “She’s very loving and caring.”
Bryant said these caring qualities contributed to Smither’s decision to become an organ donor and save other people’s lives.
“It’s crazy. I remember the day going with her to renew her license and her talking about ‘I want to be an organ donor, I just want to be able to help people,'” Bryant said.
Bryant remembered Smither saying she didn’t know when she will die but that “she was very excited to be given the choice to help other people.”
Although the funeral was a sad occasion, Bryant also described it as a chance to remember Smither’s positive outlook on life and as “a very uplifting, positive ceremony.”
“They were trying to tell us ‘don’t ask why this happened, ask why we were lucky enough to know her,'” Bryant said. “It was focused toward the love she would want us to have for each other.”
Bryant said Smither was a very positive person.
“She was very happy,” Bryant said. “You couldn’t walk into a room without seeing her smile.”