Ianni remembered as fun-loving


While looking Thursday for a picture of Rachel Ianni covered in mud, gleefully holding a parchment tube worm she’d dug up on a beach in North Carolina, Jim Welch came across a second photo of the Springfield native who died New Year’s Day in South America — of Ianni asking her classmates to bury her in the sand.

“Imagine the most fun person you’ve ever known, with the biggest smile, then multiply it by two,” said Welch, chairman of Wittenberg University’s biology department.

Ianni, whose funeral will be Saturday, will be remembered as a fun-loving and outstanding student whose passion in life was biology.

A 2004 graduate of Catholic Central High School, Ianni went on to earn a biology degree in 2008 from Wittenberg.

On Jan. 1 she fell into a ravine while hiking the Inca Trail near the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru. She was 26.

“She was an outdoors person. She was prepared for this hike,” said her father, Tony Ianni, who added that when she served in AmeriCorps, she was chain saw-certified.

Rachel Ianni, who also earned a master’s degree in marine and environmental science from Nicholls State University in Louisiana, was a resident of the Chicago area at the time of her death.

Like so many others, news of her death stunned Welch.

“I can imagine that she was just doing her thing. She was having fun,” said Welch, who led Ianni on summer field programs to North Carolina and the Bahamas. “For her to have it end like that is just as awful as can be.

“It’s so hard to imagine she’s not here anymore.”

Ianni worked as a biological science technician at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a 15,000-acre area at the southern part of Lake Michigan.

“She was full of life,” said her mother, Juliann Ianni. “She embraced life is what she did.”

Visitation for Rachel Ianni will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. today at Conroy Funeral Home, with a funeral Mass at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Teresa Catholic Church.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Firefighters help paramedic beat up estranged wife's friend, police say
Firefighters help paramedic beat up estranged wife's friend, police say

Two firefighters and a paramedic are facing charges after authorities accused them of breaking into a home in Eustis, Florida, Monday night and assaulting the people inside. Police said the victim told her husband, the paramedic, that their marriage was over and he had to move out a few weeks ago. Investigators said Michael Amedeo got two of his firefighter...
Southeastern school to start building new gym soon
Southeastern school to start building new gym soon

Southeastern Local Schools in South Charleston would like to start construction on a new gymnasium at its elementary school soon, its superintendent said. “The goal is to get it done by next winter,” Superintendent David Shea said. “That means we need to start construction in the spring.” MORE: Southeastern schools debating...
Killer details brutal murder, final minutes of NY jogger in police video
Killer details brutal murder, final minutes of NY jogger in police video

The accused killer of New York jogger Karina Vetrano was in court Monday, and a videotaped confession detailed the violet final moments of Vetrano’s life as her family listened and sobbed, the New York Post reported. Chanel Lewis, 21, calmly confessed to killing Vetrano on Aug. 2, 2016 in a video that was played during a pre-trial hearing...
Trump supports embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore, ‘He totally denies it’
Trump supports embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore, ‘He totally denies it’

President Donald Trump finally addressed sexual assault and harassment allegations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore Tuesday while speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Mar-a-Lago, essentially saying he supports Moore in spite of the accusations. “We don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat,&rdquo...
$10M sought for U.S. Air Force thermal protection systems
$10M sought for U.S. Air Force thermal protection systems

The U.S. Air Force is developing high speed vehicles and those vehicles need advanced heat protection. University of Dayton Research Institute is seeking $10 million for the total $20 million thermal protection systems development project, and is among dozens of local requesters that want the Dayton Development Coalition to lobby for federal funds...
More Stories