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Boston bombings: Chinese student remembered at memorial service

April 23, 2013|By Ashley Powers
  • Lu Jun, the father of Boston University student Lu Lingzi, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, leaves the stage after giving emotional remarks during a memorial service on campus.
Lu Jun, the father of Boston University student Lu Lingzi, who was killed… (Dina Rudick / Boston Globe…)

BOSTON — Lu Lingzi was 23 and relishing her first taste of life off campus.

Yes, she often burned breakfast and set off the fire alarm. And she and her roommate, Jing Li, would bemoan that their studies left them no time to date. But the young Chinese women, both students at Boston University, would also sing out loud as they walked down Boston’s busy streets.

“I had no idea this friendship could only last one year,” Li said Monday night at a memorial for her friend.

Lu was killed last week in the Boston Marathon bombings, where she'd gone to celebrate the completion of a project. Friends and family recalled her as a meticulous student who rewrote her class notes to make them neater, but also as a bubbly piano player whose emails jumped with exclamation points.

“She was the family's Shirley Temple, if you will,” her father, Lu Jun, told the packed student union ballroom in Chinese. Lingzi was his only child; he looked worn-down and sometimes paused to dab his nose with a tissue.

In front of him was a picture of his dark-haired daughter, beaming, her chin resting on her hand. Elsewhere, a U-shaped table bloomed with white carnations and lilies that students had brought.

His daughter, he said, had long dreamed of living abroad and spent hours perfecting her English. When she was accepted into BU's competitive graduate statistics program, she was thrilled. She made her parents promise to take care of her extensive music collection, which she said she'd come back for one day.

Lu Lingzi embraced her new home, friends said, though she missed her parents and the family dog. She loved trying new kinds of food and reading romance novels.

Last year, she moved in with Li. Lu was a sun sign and Li was a moon sign — and therefore, Li said, the perfect pair. Neither woman had lived off campus before and, Li joked, “we felt sad we were too busy to meet nice boys.”

Two days before the marathon, Lu finished the qualifying exams she'd worked so hard to prepare for. She never got the results, said Eric Kolaczyk, the statistics program director.

True to form, he said, “she passed with flying colors.”

ashley.powers@latimes.com

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