Annie Tate, a life remembered

February 26, 2020

Creative. Pasta fanatic. Authentic. Always three steps ahead. That was Annie.

“She was the epitome of the perfect, thriving Suffolk student. She was so well rounded in every aspect. She was always 20 minutes early — with her coffee,” said Caleigh O’Brien, a close friend and roommate.

Annie Bridget McDevitt Tate, a junior in the Sawyer Business School, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 14. As the Suffolk community continues to mourn such a tremendous loss, Annie’s two roommates, O’Brien and Sandharaa Munasinghe, describe her as the perfect friend.

“She was every quality you’d want in a friend — caring, loving, kind, honest, always gave you constructive criticism and that’s what shaped us to be better people,” said O’Brien.

They remember her for being unapologetically herself in everything she did

“She was very much her- self and she never changed. She was always true to being who she was, and that’s so hard nowadays; it feels like everyone’s a follower — but she wasn’t. She always had a way of making things her own,” said Munasinghe.

She is remembered as being a great listener and close confidant for many who had the pleasure of knowing her.

“I always knew I could count on her to hear me out and give me the advice

I needed to hear, not [necessarily] wanted. Annie was the kind of friend that stood by you no matter what,” said Gabriella Shkolnikov, a close friend.

When Annie arrived on campus as a freshman, she was immediately a ray of sunshine in the community. She was involved with many extracurricular activities and had a special place in her heart for Suffolk Men’s Basketball. Student Government Association President Karine Kanj, who had the privilege of knowing Annie, spoke fondly of her.

“She was one of the kindest, most genuine people I knew. I’ve known her since freshman year and talking to her always felt like a breath of fresh air. She was creative, funny, and most definitely intelligent. Her style was sassy and I always admired that!” said Kanj.

Annie was a marketing major who loved both fashion and event planning. Those who knew her describe her as “quite the fashionista” who loved thrift store shopping and designing unique outfits for herself and her friends.

“She was so creative! She would cut our shirts, distress our jeans for us, her artwork is all over our apartment — and she was no artist — but she was abstract. She was a free spirit. She always did her own thing, she was never worried about what the person next to her was doing. That’s something I’m going to take with me forever,” said O’Brien.

Everyone that knew Annie describe her as a “master organizer” who had already begun making plans for after graduation. She often spoke about her dream to move to NYC where she looked to combine her marketing degree with her love for fashion.

“In my last conversation with her, she showed her great enthusiasm and desire to work in the fashion industry. She was very driven and looking for ways to get experience in fashion marketing,” said Marketing Department Chair and Associate Professor Pelin Bicen. “We talked about her plan in depth over tea. What a lovely conversation it was. We are all heartbroken to lose such a beautiful soul. Her curiosity and joyful personality will live on in all those blessed to have met her.”

Professors describe Annie as a driven student who was enthusiastic about her studies and loved to participate in class, always jumping on every opportunity to share her unique perspective.

“I remember she was always smiling, and had this great reddish hair! She was a very sweet and genuinely nice young woman who I know will be missed by so many people,” said Ereni Markos, a marketing professor.

Her drive to succeed was infectious. She always encouraged everyone around her to be the best they could be. Friends say Annie always made you want to simply be a better person.

“She had a way about her where she could just make people feel good about themselves. If you had an accomplishment or you did well on a test, she was the one you wanted to tell first,” said Munasinghe.

In the summer months, Annie could often be found soaking up the sun. Friends say her family’s beach house was one of her favorite places on Earth and was where she was the happiest. Perhaps it was all those hours in the sun that allowed her to light up every room she walked into.

“She touched every- one’s life that she entered, without even trying. She had a radiance about her that made everyone feel extra sunshine in their lives,” said Sammy Grundy, a close friend from home. “Her radiance will live on forever and that beautiful red hair will never be forgotten.”

Grundy and Katie Van Zandt grew up alongside Annie and have been best friends for years. The trio were inseparable, and describe Annie as the glue that had a unique ability of bringing everyone together.

“She was just genuinely the best person I knew, I don’t think I ever had a bad day with her. All we would do was laugh and laugh,” said Van Zandt. “Annie was just one of a kind, unique in all of the best ways.”

When she wasn’t designing a creative new outfit or wandering the aisles of IKEA and Homegoods looking for decorating inspiration, Annie was likely to be found cooking. Her go to? Pasta. She was well known for her infamous shrimp scampi.

“Pasta was an Annie staple! We would eat pasta all the time,” said O’Brien. “She even tried to give it up for the month of February — she made it 11 days. We were going to throw a party for her. Pasta was something she could literally not go a day without.”

It was this simple unabashed love for pasta, fashion and everything colorful that drew people in, but it was her glowing personality and commitment to the people she cared about that made them stay. Annie was authentic in everything she did, never afraid to be herself.

“She always carried herself with class, yet with this silly and easy-going aura around her,” said Krystina Rodriguez, a close friend. “I admired the way Annie approached life and for that she will always be my role model, forever best friend and honorary roomie.”

Annie’s life was celebrated on Friday, Feb. 21 in the United Congregational Church of Little Compton, Rhode Island. Family, friends and everyone who knew and loved her honored her bright and beautiful soul by wearing colorful clothing.

Annie would not have had it any other way.

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    Jill TateApr 24, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Beautifully written. Thank you Haley. Annie would have approved.