Joy. When no other words would come, joy was the one word everyone could agree on to describe Shelby Seabaugh. Even during a time of mourning the memory of Shelby’s joyous spirit was able to bring healing to her friends and family.
Junior Shelby Seabaugh, 21, unexpectedly passed away March 27, 2014.
Shelby, a christian studies and philosophy double major from Magnolia, is survived by her parents, Dr. Michael and Laurie Seabaugh, and her siblings, Hayden and Gracen. She is also survived by her fiancé, Joshua Cassidy, and her grandparents, Dr. Rodney and Rosemary Griffin of Magnolia and Wayne and Glenda Seabaugh of Hot Springs Village.
Seabaugh was an active member across campus and brought her joyous light to each organization she was a part of. Seabaugh served on the Ouachita Student Foundation, was a member of the Pruet Sisterhood and the Carl Goodson Honors Program, was a Tiger Network Scholar and was on the Dean’s List. Seabaugh was also a member of the Women of EEE where she served as co-director of the 2013 Championship Tiger Tunes show, shEEEp.
Seabaugh was a hard worker and had a brilliant mind. If she couldn’t be found around campus one could be sure she was locked away in her room studying.
“For Shelby it wasn’t an option to ever half-do something. It was always 110%,” said Abby Baze, a junior psychology major from Mt. Vernon, Texas.
Classes and late night studying are the first things that brought together Seabaugh and her suitemate, Baze.
“She loved learning. I think that is one of the reasons why she really applied herself,”Baze said. “ There were several nights that we pulled all-nighters together, writing or editing papers. When I would want to go to sleep, she would be like ‘No, you have to get this done. You are devoted to your studies.’ She made it seem less dreadful.”
Everyone who knew Seabaugh knew her commitment to her studies came second only to her love for the Lord. Seabaugh was happiest when she was able to combine the two.
“She loved her Bible classes, loved them,” said Aaryn Elliot, a junior early childhood education major from Bentonville. Elliot was Seabaugh’s counterpart in directing the year’s Tiger Tunes show.
“When I think about her, I think about coffee, her reading her books and her writing her papers,” Elliot said.
Just before spring break Seabaugh had finished writing the daily devotionals for Camp Siloam Summer Camp. She had also recently told Baze that she wanted to spend her life writing curriculum for a Christian organization.
Writing was just one of the many God given talents Seabaugh possessed. Those who knew Shelby spoke highly of her artistic abilities. Seabaugh could often be found in her dorm room painting or drawing.
“Sometimes when she was really stressed she would say, ‘I’m just gonna draw.’ I think it was therapeutic for her,” Baze said.
“She would always say that she just wanted to live in a little house and drink tea and paint and write,” said Anna Sikes, a junior Christian studies major from Greenbrier. “She was an old soul. She appreciated things just because they were enjoyable.”
Another of Seabaugh’s gifts that many of her friends reflected on was her ability to make others feel loved. Many said they felt like they had known Shelby since they were young, when in reality it had been a few years at most. She had the ability to make people open up because they knew they could trust her. Baze described her as, “An unconditional positive regard.”
“She was just so accepting of people and their personalities and their quirks,” Sikes said. “I think that is why people felt so drawn to her so quickly.”
Shelby’s caring nature and serving spirit made her a friend to many.
“Shelby was the epitome of good friendship,” Baze said. “Once I mentioned to Shelby that I needed her to help with a poster for a sports event. I came into my room later that day and she had already made the entire poster. I could see her stuff still laying out, but I couldn’t find her. I found her asleep in my bed on the top bunk.”
“She was a lover of all and judgmental of none,” said Micale Kocke, a junior biology major from Cabot. Seabaugh had been Kocke’s roommate during their junior year. “She was passionate and loved to please those around her.”
“I have never had a friendship like I had with Shelby. It really happened instantaneously,” Elliot said. “Very quickly we were very intentional laying down what were like as people. I had never done that with someone. I really can’t explain it. It is not how a friendship really works.”
Beyond heartfelt conversations and intentional relationships, Seabaugh was a good friend because she just loved to have fun. Many of her friends recall Seabaugh inspired shenanigans revolving around late night food runs.
“One time she dragged me out of bed at 2 am to go get food with her. We literally wore pajamas to waffle house,” Kocke said. “She had on sheep sleep pants.”
“She would sometimes burst into my room and be like, ‘Go with me to Taco Bell. I will buy you a taco,’ and it would be like three in the morning,” said Baze.
Aside from Seabaugh’s well known inner qualities, her tiny stature was a physical quality that many remembered her for. People were often surprised at how such a small package could contain so much life and passion. Kocke recalled a time when Seabaugh’s small frame and big love for goofiness came together to create a lasting memory.
“One time we locked her in my trunk to see if the ‘kidnap lever’ really worked,” Kocke said. “It does.”
All of of Shelby’s friends agreed that she would want to be remembered as a servant of the Lord and a lover of people.
“Above anything she would want to glorify the Lord through her life and through her death,” Elliot said. “She would want to encourage people to be passionate about life and people.”
“The first thing I knew about Shelby was her relationship with the Lord. It was very evident, but not in a showy way. It was evident in her actions and her words. She was selfless,” Baze said. “I think she would want us to think of her in her joyful state, but not necessarily focus on her, but focus on the Lord through her.”
Published in the 2014 Ouachitonian