Campus Mourns Loss of Natalie Devlin

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 14, 2010

The campus community mourns the death of Natalie Devlin, Associate Director of Web Services in the Library and Information Technology Office, who passed away on May 13 after a brain aneurysm.

“We all will miss her a great deal. In her honor, the Arcadia University flag will be lowered to half-staff for a week,” said President Jerry Greiner.

Devlin suffered a brain aneurysm in February, and was recuperating at home. She was looking forward to returning to work at Arcadia at the end of May. She told friends and coworkers she was moved by the outpouring of concern and good wishes she received during the past three months, and she was truly appreciative of all of the cards, flowers and visits she received during that time. She suffered a second, fatal aneurysm this past Tuesday.

“Many on campus may not have known Natalie. Much of what she did during her six years at Arcadia was behind-the-scenes. Or perhaps, she remained behind-the-scenes; her work was public,” says Eric McCloy, Executive Director of Library and Information Technology. “If you applied for London Preview, you used her form. If you have ever visited, you benefited from her tireless work keeping our Web site up and running. She was energetic and knowledgeable, but her legacy on campus is much greater than the lines of code she crafted.”

“Natalie’s resume was the last one to be received for the open Web Developer position in 2004, but it looked the most promising. Her love of SQL databases and code was apparent even then. She and I shared a leaky office in the basement of Boyer but managed to make a good time of it. Although my position moved to University Relations in summer 2005, we continued to collaborate on projects on an almost daily basis,” says Sue Gettlin, Associate Director of University Relations and Web Communications Manager.

“Major campus Web projects such as upgrading the University Web (twice!), conversion from paper to online forms and the implementation the Campus Events Calendar and Campus Scheduling System could not have happened without her technical expertise, tenaciousness and dedication. She was willing to solve any technical issue that arose, and she was always improving her talents as a Web Developer. Her patience and grace in dealing with vendors’ technical support was superhuman. Aside from her friendship, I will miss her infectious smile and her always-confident attitude that we could get the job done,” adds Gettlin.

“Listen to those who knew her and a single word recurs: Joy,” says McCloy. “Natalie laughed often. One friend said: ‘Every time I think of Natalie, I see a smiling face.’ She spoke kindly and with genuine affection for those around her. She not only liked to crack jokes, but was more than willing to lend an ear. At Friday lunch (always Cosi, if it was up to her), she would ask, ‘Is anyone doing anything fun this weekend?’ She took an interest in all of us, and not just in our weekend plans. She was ready to listen to the good and the bad; she spoke cheerfully into sadness. If you knew Natalie only in passing, perhaps news of this grief is a rumble in the distance, a sadness you feel as your community mourns. To those of us who were privileged to work with her closely, it is a thunderclap in our hearts, a close and present pain, lessened only by the memory of her joyful spirit.”

“I will remember Natalie for her spectacular smile, which greeted me every time I visited her office or saw her on campus,” says José Dieudonné, Chief Information Officer. “She was bright light in our department, someone who always thought of others before herself. In fact, my last communication with her was an e-mail in which she expressed happiness at coming back to work, but also asked about my older son’s health, since she knew he had been quite sick. Natalie was a beautiful person, inside and out and she will be greatly missed.”

“After Ektron training, Natalie and I were stranded in the Manchester Airport by a snow delay. Still cheerful, though others were tired and impatient, she bought a book of Sudoku, declaring that her mother did these puzzles in pen, and she ought to be able to master them. Working together, we figured out the first one. She went on to become a Sudoku junkie, doing a puzzle every night,” adds McCloy.

“One of my favorite details of Natalie’ life was a description of her summer camp experience as a child in Russia. Summer after summer she was sent off to overnight camp, which lasted three whole months. In addition to the usual activities such as swimming and hiking, she learned to assemble/disassemble and fire a rifle,” Gettlin says.

Devlin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and emigrated with her family to the United States at the age of 19 in 1979. She worked for Towers Perrin in Philadelphia before joining Arcadia in 2004.

“Natalie enjoyed ethnic foods, both sharing and tasting. She looked forward to the LIT gatherings when everyone made ethnic dishes particular to their heritage. She would bring two or three Russian foods rather than just one because she enjoyed sharing so much. In fact, no matter what the event, she was excited to help and always did above and beyond,” says Barbara Kulp, Administrative Coordinator.

“Natalie was a wonderful friend and colleague. But she was even more than that to me. We lost a very energetic and knowledgeable person. As I bid farewell to my beloved colleague, I remember the enormous impact she had on me. My condolences to her family,” says Anu Yalamanchi, Web Developer.

“Most people that meet Natalie remember her smile and her laugh,” says Scott Grabus, Assistant Director of Systems Integration. “They are both contagious. No matter how bad you were feeling, when Natalie walked in, you would instantly feel better. She not only liked to crack jokes, but also was more than willing to lend an ear. Natalie was the social butterfly of the IT department. Every birthday or special occasion, you could expect a card waiting on your desk first thing in the morning.”

“She was a good-hearted, kind person who touched everyone she came across,” says Helvi Nujoma, Systems Manager. “One word that resonates in the minds of those who knew her is joy. Natalie was a joyful person, and she brought joy to those around her. Although her bright light has dimmed, she will not be forgotten.”

A longtime resident of Cherry Hill, N.J., she raised a daughter, Victoria, 21, her pride and joy. In addition, she is survived by her mother, father, a sister and a stepsister. Funeral Arrangements are being coordinated by Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08003. Relatives and friends are invited to the chapel on Sunday, May 16, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Funeral services will begin promptly at 2 p.m.

In Lieu of Flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (Please specify Victoria Karpman for notification.)