By Bryan Blair and Joan C. McKinney
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Doris Wefwafwa of Kenya, a student assistant volleyball coach at Campbellsville University, and a former All-American for the Lady Tigers Volleyball Team, died unexpectedly Monday afternoon after a short illness.
Wefwafwa, who was to graduate Friday, Dec. 14 with a bachelor of social work degree, died at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky. She was 34.
“Campbellsville University will get Doris home to be with her family,” said Dave Walters, vice president for admissions and student services, at a prayer service for Wefwafwa today in the Ransdell Chapel.
“Doris touched so many lives, and we will do the very best we can to take care of Doris,” Walters said.
Walters said her family in Kenya was open to a local service because, “This was her family too.” The time and place of that service will be announced at a later time.
Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries at CU, said, “Anyone who knew Doris at all knew that she loved Jesus Christ.” Pavy read several scriptures including Psalm 23, and said Wefwafwa will never again be hungry nor thirsty. “Doris was loved by this campus.”
Wefwafwa was from Nairobi, Kenya, and transferred to Campbellsville University for her senior year in 2006 after playing at Columbia College, Columbia, Mo.
She helped lead Campbellsville to a perfect 10-0 Mid-South Conference Regular Season Championship in 2006. Wefwafwa was named the Mid-South Conference Volleyball Player of the Week six times last season and the NAIA Region XI Volleyball Player of the Week four times. She was the Mid-South Conference Volleyball Player of the Year at the conclusion of last season.
She was also an NAIA All-Region XI selection and was Second Team NAIA All-American last season.
Wefwafwa was ranked second nationally in kills per game in the NAIA last season, averaging 5.63 per game. Campbellsville University finished last season with a 35-7 record en route to the program’s first ever Mid-South Conference Regular Season title.
During her career at Columbia College, Wefwafwa was selected as a 3rd Team NAIA All-American in 2003 and a 1st Team NAIA All-American in 2004.
Wefwafwa missed the last five matches at the Mid-South Conference and NAIA Region XI Tournaments at the conclusion of the 2006 season due to the death of her mother in Kenya. She returned to complete her education last year and was named as a student assistant coach at the beginning of the 2007 season.
At Columbia College, she was named first team All-American in 2004 and third team in 2003. She was a three-time first team player for the American Midwest Conference in 2003, 2004 and 2005. She was named two times to the first team of Region V in 2003 and 2004 and was named Conference Player of the Week eight times.
In 1998, while playing volleyball in Kenya, Wefwafwa was team captain and recognized as the best attacker in the world and was ranked 21st in the world. She competed in the 2000 summer Olympics with the Kenya volleyball team.
Randy LeBleu, volleyball coach at Campbellsville University, said, “Doris was an amazing person. Many of us knew her as a great volleyball player, but she was even a better person.
“In her short time with us at Campbellsville, she touched many people. Even if your day was not going very well, she could make you smile or comfort you with a hug. A hug from Doris was not just courtesy; she had feeling with every hug.
“She will be missed, but we will all remember how she could light up a room with her smile. I am just deeply saddened by her leaving us so soon.
“My prayers go out to her family in Kenya and all of the people she has touched here.”
Wefwafwa was a student employee in the physical plant at Campbellsville University. “Doris was a special person who became a friend to everyone she met,” said Jo Ann Harris, secretary in the physical plant.
“She immediately loved them unconditionally without ever knowing them. She saw everyone as a brother or sister in Christ and that was good enough for her. Her capacity to love was phenomenal.”
“What I will most miss about Doris Wefwafwa would be the glow she radiated when she entered a room,” said Dr. Darlene Eastridge, dean of the Carver School of Social Work.
“Doris spoke softly and her words were always kind and shared with a joyful spirit. Doris was loved by all who knew her and even though we feel confident that Doris is with our Lord, we grieve her absence in our lives.”
Shannon Thomas, instructor at CU, had Wefwafwa in class and said she was “always smiling and wanted to learn. She was always positive, always glowing. She was always so respectful, and worked really hard in class. I smile when I think about her calling me ‘Madam.’ She taught us a lot.”
Wefwafwa did a field practicum in social work at Medco Center of Campbellsville. “She had a sincere heart,” said Karen Moore, director of the center. “Everyone loved her. She was very, very diligent with the patients.”
She was a Homecoming Queen candidate in 2007 at Campbellsville University.
Wefwafwa was the daughter of the Rev. Moses Wanyama Wefwafwa and the late the Rev. Rose Nabucha Wefwafwa.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.