ROCK HILL — It would have been a momentous occasion in one Winthrop University seniors life.
But Saturdays graduation ceremony will now be remembered by friends of Anna Marie Hurst as the day their cap and gown photos were missing one smiling face.
Hurst, 21, a family and consumer science major at Winthrop, died on Friday in her familys home in Rock Hill. She was found in the early morning hours in her bed. The cause of death is not known at this time and the York County coroner's office says it is still investigating.
She graduated from Northwestern High School in 2009. She was a member of Winthrops chapter of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
On the sororitys Facebook page, a friend posted in Hursts memory that she exemplified all that it means to be a sister of Alpha Delta Pi--integrity, intelligence, Christian womanhood, compassion, character and a graceful and joyful spirit.
She was, the friend wrote, such an amazing person on the inside and out.
The campus was notified Hurst's passing on Friday in an e-mail sent by Winthrop Vice President for Student Life Frank Ardaiolo.
"Last night, Anna was home with her family helping to trim their Christmas tree," Ardaiolo wrote. "She went to bed very happy and died during the night from an unknown cause."
She had a "special way with children," Ardaiolo wrote.
Hurst worked in a Rock Hill child development center where she took care of many Winthrop employees' children.
Ardaiolo spoke with the Hurst family on Friday.
Her father Chuck, worked at Winthrop as a chef for several years. He went on to open Anna J's restaurant near the campus.
"Her dad mentioned how much (Anna) and her family loved Winthrop and how proud she was to have finished her studies in three and a half years," Ardaiolo wrote in the e-mail.
Winthrop will recognize her passing at Saturday's commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. at the university's Coliseum. Her parents will accept her diploma from the college.
Visitation will be Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the familys home at 915 Allendale Drive in Rock Hill.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Greene Funeral Home Northwest Chapel.
Anna Douglas 803-329-4068