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Mace 'was going to do great things'
By Lisa Smith | Daily Herald Staff

Mourners embrace before entering today's visitation for Ryanne Mace of Carpentersville at Baker United Methodist Church in St. Charles. Mace was killed in Thursday's shooting at NIU.


Rick West | Staff Photographer

Ryanne Mace


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Published: 2/18/200 1:39 PM | Updated: 2/19/2008 12:08 AM

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Ryanne Mace was passionate about the Eiffel Tower and everything French, the writing of Shakespeare, and playing the violin.

Through her service on a peer jury, Mace "was committed to giving other kids second chances, and changing lives," said the Rev. Dale Beck, the pastor who conducted the 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student's funeral service Monday.

Her own life, along with those of four other students, was cut short Thursday when a gunman opened fire in a classroom at NIU before committing suicide.

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A sophomore psychology student from Carpentersville who dreamed of becoming a counselor, Mace was known for dispensing sound advice to her many friends, Beck told some 350 mourners gathered at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles. Mace's uncle, Jim Best, is director of youth ministries at the church, and both of her grandfathers are United Methodist Church ministers.

"She was too fine, too smart, too full of life for this outrageous, heinous, unjust moment that has come upon us," said Beck, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Normal, Ill.

He added: "We live in an unruly world … and as much as we want to … make it into a predictable world, it remains unruly and full of surprises. It makes life scary but it also makes life great."

Her grandfather the Rev. Gene Mace read a eulogy prepared by Ryanne's father, Eric Mace.

"While she was a bit irresponsible with money and constantly accumulating things that she might not have needed, she was also passionate about causes, aware of the world and committed to the idea of making a positive mark on society," he said.

Mace was an only child and a 2006 Dundee-Crown High School graduate. An avid violinist, she sang in the instrumental choir and was active in the school's music program.

"She was going places. She was going to do great things," said Timothy Slovacek, who graduated with Mace, adding that she was a "very talented musician. She was very good at what she did."

In the visitation period leading up to Monday's memorial service, dozens of flower arrangements lined a table in front of a projection screen depicting a slideshow of photographs of Mace through the years. Family snapshots of her posing in a tutu as a little girl, opening presents on Christmas morning, and smiling on prom night, reminders of a life that ended too soon. Loved ones passed around scrapbooks and signed photographs of Mace.

The cover of Mace's memorial service program featured an observation Mace wrote on her MySpace page on Valentine's Day, the day she was killed: "Saying you love someone is not enough; it's how you treat them that shows your true feelings."