In other people's words:
Lauren Dawn Townsend was born on January 17, 1981, two months premature, in Littleton, Colorado. After a month-long struggle to bring up her weight and her appetite, Lauren was allowed to leave the hospital for home. Her small size and frail limbs were worrisome at first, but, as she began to grow, her strength, charm, and tolerance of tough situations became evident.
One of her favorite pastimes as a toddler was to sit in front of the cupboard and pull out every piece of Tupperware. Surrounded in a sea of plastic she would watch us and smile as someone put every piece back as she planned to start it all over again. She often entertained her older siblings by free lancing songs and improvising a cute little dance. One of her greatest hits was about “Georgy Porgy” getting lost in the “Merry Woods” (that was where people went to get married). This piece was performed at age six. She loved to cuddle up with a stuffed animal or a blanket but most of all somebody she loved, as she watched one of her many favorite movies from her extended Disney collection. Among her favorites were Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Lion King.
She loved to be dressed up by her big sister. Her interest in the latest fashions and glamorous movie stars came at a young age. Her sister, along with her friends, often put on fashion shows for her brothers, parents and neighbors. She loved to read and learn, especially when it was structured by her oldest brother, so her ease in academics was not a surprise.
Her family was very involved in all kinds of sports so it seemed natural for her to be involved herself. She faithfully attended all her siblings’ games often coming up to them afterwards and saying, “Good job! Did you win?” After watching so many games, it was only a matter of time before she started playing on her own. Since her mother and sister were already involved in volleyball she also became involved at the high school level as well as playing for a competitive club. Through volleyball she learned to be a leader, a team player, and a disciplined worker as well as knowledge and skill in the sport itself. She played for three years on the varsity team (lettering two of those) and was named co-captain of the team her senior season as well as being selected 2nd Team All-Conference.
Lauren loved all animals and nurtured that love through her work at an animal hospital/kennel. She also had many pets including two dogs, a rabbit, gerbils, hamsters, a baby chick and several fish. She hated the thought of anyone doing harm to God’s creatures and felt we should all do what we can to protect them. She even captured spiders in the house and released them alive outside!
Lauren loved traveling. In the summer of 1998 she journeyed to Puerto Rico with her brother Josh, sister Kristin, and mom to Puerto Rico where brother Matt was researching. Matt taught his siblings to scuba dive and Lauren discovered a new undersea world of animal life. Before her murder Lulu realized a lifetime dream by traveling to Europe over spring break 1999. She toured through Scotland and England for ten days with fellow students in her Advanced English class and sent back postcards filled with excited stories of her trip.
This was just one of the advanced placement classes Lauren had; she also took A.P. Biology and Calculus. Even though she was involved in extra-curricular activities and had recently received two scholarships to Colorado State University, Lauren continued to strive for a perfect grade point average. She graduated posthumously with a perfect 4.0 grade point and as a valedictorian.
Amongst all these achievements Lauren had a pure and simple soul and wanted to be the best person she could be to herself and the people she loved. Her goal each day was to make someone laugh…make that person feel better. She loved God, loved people.
We love you, too, Lulu. “– siblings
"Lulu, you'll always be my baby." – father, coffin inscription
"Lauren was to be a senior class valedictorian at her graduation next month. Lauren, unfortunately, won`t have the opportunity to make the impact on the world that I`m sure she would have." – David Beck, step uncle
"People say that Lauren was a victim. I don't think of her in that way. The ugly thing that happened last Tuesday, they couldn't conquer her beauty." – brother Matt
"I love my sister. Not only that, I like my sister." – brother Josh
"She was the best little sister in the whole world, an angel on Earth. I know she's looking down us now" – Kathy Johnson, stepsister
"She was a marvelous sketch artist. She had sketched her own wedding dress -- one for summer and one for winter, just in case. " – reverend Bill Selby
“Why Lauren? What did she ever do in her life to deserve such a fate? Why did this have to happen? Why not me? I remember feeling pain and sorrow, but not as much as the guilt. I should have been in the library with them. I should have gone looking for her to go out to lunch with me. I should have . . . What if . . . All the while blaming myself for her death. Then the funeral. I think that this event was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do; to bury a best friend, a teammate, a future roommate, a child cut down before she could even experience life. Seeing her parents there broke my heart completely in two. They were so strong, so caring about us and how we were doing. Why couldn't that strength find me? I remember our last goodbye to her; our volleyball team had worn our ribbons to her funeral. Lauren's favorite -- our neon green-and-blue polka dot ribbons that never gave us the luck we wished for, but nonetheless were our favorites. During the service, we all took them out of our hair, went up to her coffin and placed them on the flowers that adorned the coffin. She was buried with them. . . . I will forever miss the good times we shared; the fun we had going to volleyball games in the bus, singing until our faces were blue, going out to eat at a restaurant and getting in a food fight, the private and personal inside jokes that we shared, that we would laugh hysterically at while others looked on, probably thinking, ''What weirdos.'' . . . These memories of Lauren will never leave me. . . . I look forward to the day when I can see her smiling face again, reminisce on old times, share our inside jokes again, laugh until tears run down our faces and our cheeks and stomachs hurt, and finally tell her how much I really love her, now and forever.” – Rachel Goodwin, friend
“Lauren Townsend, my friend who died in the library at C.H.S., was a very studious and hardworking girl, yet she also found time to fit in pleasure, without stressing herself too much. I hope to learn from her example, now knowing all too well how quickly life can escape us.” – Pam Glazner, friend
"For thou has kill'd the sweetest innocent that e'er did lift up eye," – Carol Samson, teacher, quoting William Shakespeare’s Othello
"Lauren was a fine young woman. Her heart appreciated things that were gentle and she was wise academically.'' – another quote by Ms Samson
"I don't think we should be sad. We should be happy we knew her." - Rachel Danford, friend
"There's not a speaker, poet or singer who could express how beautiful Lauren is," Tom Tonelli, friend
"I remember her always laughing. She made me laugh so hard."- Angela King, friend
"We’d talk about our way-down secrets that we wouldn’t tell anybody else. Lauren had problems, but she’d never really let anybody know. She talked to me about it. But she never had a bad day. She had quiet days. But not bad days."; "We talked really in-depth on the winter retreat. Sometimes about God, but mostly about what we were going through in life right now, what it’s like. Me and Lauren, sometimes we don’t have easy lives. And we talked about that.”; "We always sang Jesus Christ Superstar, and we’d dance to it. And so she drew Jesus on the cross for me." ; “She had smudged it. And I remember her saying, ‘I had a picture for you, but I ruined it. So I’ll redraw it for you.’ She never did. And finally I said, 'Lauren, can I have that picture you smudged?”; “If anything, I should have been the one to die, and not Lauren. For the first couple of days after, I thought, if I would have stayed at our table, I would have gotten shot and not Lauren - Lauren would have been safe. Or if I was there, my angel that was with me would have been with my whole table, and my whole table would have been OK."; "Your best friend doesn’t die. Even to this day, I don’t believe it. I think maybe I could go call her, and she’ll be home. And I’ll say, 'What’s up?’"; "I want to live more like Lauren - try to get along with everybody, try to work harder. She’s my hero. I want to do something to help people. So that every day is like a new day, you know?" – Jessica Holliday, friend, compilation of quotes
“My mom and Lauren's mom are friends, that is how I got to know Lauren. She was always a joy and loving person. When Lauren and I were together it was probably the best memories of her that I have. As some of you might know, when Lauren was about 13, her mom Dawn was diagnosed with cancer. (This story was turned into a movie on Lifetime called Dawn Anna. It first aired on January 10, 2005.) This was a rough time on everyone. Lauren and her siblings did everything they could to help Dawn and see that she got better.
On April 20, 1999, Dawn was the first person to know what was happening. She was home at the time and saw the initial news story. Dawn, Bink (her husband), Josh, Kristen, Matt (her siblings) and I gathered at her home to watch and wait for Lauren to arrive. We all sat and waited for some word that Lauren was all right. As we waited we were praying that everything would turn out okay. As the day dragged on, one of the news reports from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said that whoever wasn't accounted for by this late hour, was dead. When we heard that Lauren had died, we were all in a shock and just really upset. We later were told by one of Lauren's friends that Lauren and her were under the same table together and that Lauren's words are what helped her get through the massacre in the library. Lauren's words were, "Everything is going to be all right." On the day of Lauren's funeral, April 26, 1999, was when we all realized that Lauren really was gone.
Now all we can do is remember the memories we have of her. It was all very tragic and we all are happy that we had the chance to know Lauren because she was amazing and had a very delicate soul. Lauren was an excellent drawer and she loved animals. She was a great person to know but all in all, everything turned out okay because we knew that Lauren had helped others make it out from under that table that day, even though she didn't.” – Ashley, friend