Paly Lacrosse Student Mourned as 'Beautiful Soul'

Services for Emily Benatar, who died of bacterial meningitis Wednesday, will be at Congregation Beth Am May 19 in Los Altos Hills.


Los Altos Hills resident Emily Benatar, who died Wednesday from complications of meningococcal disease, is being remembered as an artist, athlete and a friend.

Benatar, a first-year student at Washington University in St. Louis, passed away at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Wednesday morning in University City, MO. Benatar was attending the College of Arts & Sciences.

The family has invited friends to a May 17 memorial service, 7 p.m., at Congregation Beth Am.

Benatar was an original member of the Palo Alto High School girls lacrosse team, and teammates remembered her during an emotional SCVAL semifinal game against rival St. Francis Wednesday by placing memorial notes, flowers, and drawings on the fence surrounding the playing fields, according to Paly InFocus.

Benatar, who played as an attacker on the team, had a quality about her that glowed both on and off the field, Coach Jamie Nesbitt told the San Jose Mercury News. "She was a positive influence on everyone, and her passion "made the situation better. ... She was a one-of-a-kind."

Her high school vice principal praised Benatar, telling the San Jose Mercury News: 

"She was a walking positive adjective: smart, driven, athletic, nice, wholesome," Jerry Berkson said.

Benatar, 19, was a freshman who lived in the Washington University campus' "South 40" residential hall area. Students held a midnight vigil for her Wednesday, according to Washington University's Student Life. 

Benatar was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in April, and Dr. Alan Glass, head of the Habif Health and Wellness Center at Washington University, told St. Louis Today no other cases of the contagious disease had been diagnosed. Individuals who had been in close contact with Benatar were given preventive antibiotics.

To view an online guestbook for Benatar, click here.

Read previous Patch coverage on Benatar: 


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