Nohemi Gonzalez, U.S. Student Killed In Paris, Remembered As a 'Beautiful Soul'

Pam WrightLife

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Nohemi Gonzalez, the U.S. student killed in the Paris attack, was remembered by hundreds Sunday as a "beautiful soul."

Gonzalez was a 23-year-old Cal State Long Beach who had moved temporarily to Paris to study industrial design as an exchange student.

Unfortunately, she was one of 18 killed Friday at a sidewalk bistro in Paris, where she and three friends were enjoying dinner. In total 129 were killed in the terrorist attack that stunned the world.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered at the campus to mourn her death and remember her spirit, described as all at once creative, intelligent, observant and, befitting a designer, a bit playful.

"Nohemi possessed a character that was truly rare," Martin Herman, chairman of the university's design department, told the crowd in the student union.

"What I saw in her was a beautiful soul who practiced goodness and compassion in her friendships and relationships with others. She exuded such energy and enthusiasm and infused the entire department with these same qualities by virtue of her presence."

Beatriz Gonzalez, the mother of Nohemi, told the Los Angeles Times earlier in the day that her daughter was independent and was determined to carve out her own path.

The family struggled financially and during her undergraduate studies, Beatriz said, her daughter balanced her classwork with two jobs, one at the Armani Exchange in a Cerritos shopping mall and another at her college's laboratory.

"She used to work all the time," her mother said.

Beatrice last time she saw her daughter was Sept. 1, the day she boarded a flight for Paris. She learned of her daughter's death through a friend of a friend, reports the Times.

Many friends and instructors spoke about the life of Nohemi Gonzalez, including her boyfriend of nearly four years, Tim Mraz, who sobbed as he recalled how they met as teaching assistants in shop class.

"She ran that place, man, she owned it," Mraz said. "She was first one in, last one out; there all night."

Visibly upset, Mraz thanked classmates, friends and the community for support before adding that she may be gone, but never forgotten.

"She'll always be with us," Mraz said. "She'll still be roaming these halls, like she always does."

Pam Wright