Freshman dies in accident

By Sara Adams

Abby Schirmer was a caretaker. She was always looking to help people, and her sister, Jackie Franklin, describes her as her guardian angel.

Amanda Lloyd, one of Abby’s best friends and a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, met Abby in junior high and became good friends with her freshman year of high school.

“Abby was definitely someone who wanted to take care of everyone else,” Lloyd said. “She definitely wanted to make sure she could do all she could for anyone that happened to walk into her life.”

Abby’s life was abruptly ended because of an in-home accident Sunday afternoon. Emergency services were contacted, but there was nothing that could be done, Franklin said.

She was 18 years old and finishing her freshman year at NIU as a communication major. She was putting herself through college with the help of family and friends, Franklin said.

“She got scholarships from NIU and it was convenient because she could live at home,” Franklin said. “[NIU] gave her an opportunity to take some different classes and find out what she wanted to do.”

Abby was thinking about transferring to a school in California. She developed an interest in the state after a trip she took with her mother last summer to San Diego.

“She just fell in love with it and talked about going to school there and possibly living out there,” Franklin said.

Abby had a passion for music, which grew during her time at NIU.

“She was hoping to get into something in communication or something involving music,” Franklin said. She wanted to get into public relations with different musical artists of all genres, she said.

Abby loved dancing to hip-hop, her favorite kind of music.

“We made fun of her because she was very pale skinned,” Lloyd laughed. “We always called her the black white-girl.”

Some of her favorite artists were Ludacris, Ja Rule, Nelly and Talib Kweli. She attended as many concerts at NIU as she could, Franklin said.

“I think she actually had tickets to go to [a Talib Kweli concert],” Franklin said. “She switched with someone from work so she could go.”

Abby also will be remembered for her sense of humor.

“She could make any situation funny,” Franklin said. “All day we’ve been talking about how if she were here she would be making jokes about everything we’re doing. She was just an amazing woman.”

Abby worked at Caribou Coffee for nearly two years. Senior communication major Kirsten Carson, who worked with Abby, said she was funny, outgoing and could always make you laugh. She worked often in high school because she was saving money for college, Lloyd said.

Aside from Franklin, Abby also had a brother named Matt and a 15-month-old niece named Samantha, whom Abby baby-sat regularly.

“We would go into Caribou and [Samantha] would run behind the counter to get her,” Franklin said. “Her face would light up when she saw her and Abby would go ‘How’s my baby doll?’ and Samantha would smile and laugh.”

During her time attending Sycamore High School, Schirmer was on the honor roll and could be found playing soccer or basketball, participating in the service organization Key Club and attending school dances, Lloyd said.

“I think she would want to be remembered as someone you always had a good time with,” Lloyd said. “[Someone] that was smiling and laughing and not sad.”

Friends and family can pay their respects from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Butala Funeral Home in Sycamore. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the same location.

“If Abby were here, she would say there’s a purpose for everything,” Franklin said. “We may not understand it, but she loves us always and forever.”