19 year old Tori Chandler, a former student and tutor at Carroll Community College, passed away on Friday, November 15.
She was the beloved daughter of Russ and Mandy Chandler and girlfriend to Johnny Wysocki.
The events that would cascade to Chandler’s death started on October 10, around 1:30PM when Chandler was involved in an automobile accident. On her way to college from work on MD-140, she was caught in a bad rainstorm. A car lost control on the road; there was a collision, then another. In the end, Chandler was cut out of her car and immediately transported to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, where she would spend the next 5 weeks fighting for her life.
Chandler suffered gruesome injuries: head trauma, two collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, significant loss of blood, a broken arm, a broken clavicle, broken scapula, a leg broken in two different places, cracked ribs, fractured lower spine, and possible pelvic damage. She faced immense difficulties in recovering from this crash. When she was finally stabilized and able to be operated on, she did not make it through the surgery.
Chandler’s father, Russ, reported in an online journal that “she fought a battle that none of us could have withstood, and gave us 5 weeks to give her thousands of kisses and hugs, and to tell her what an amazing person she was.”
She did not fight that battle alone. The CaringBridge journal maintained by Chandler’s father had received over 24,000 visits at the time of her death. “Stay Strong Tori” t-shirts and wristbands were produced for friends and family members to show their support. Social media response to her death was impressive, as many Carroll and Stevenson students expressed their shock at the loss.
Prior to that fateful night, before she became a fighter and a rallying point for an entire community, Chandler was a young woman not yet out of her teens, preparing for her life.
Chandler was a tutor at Carroll Community College who had transferred to Stevenson University this semester. She was in her third year of college when she passed, and according to a release by Stevenson University, planned on majoring in Human Services.
Her mother, Carolyn, spoke of how Tori had the strength and motivation to do what she loved most: helping other people. “As Tori moved on to Carroll Community College, she had absolutely no doubt as to what she wanted to do with her life – social work,” says Carolyn. “Even after volunteering at the Rape Crisis Center and realizing that this profession would not be one that she could ‘leave at the office’, she never wavered. Tori was not one to bow to a challenge or take the easy way out; she was going to help people – done. She always believed that anything worth having was worth working hard for.”
Tori was an extremely loved and admired individual. Her family, friends, co-workers, and peers, were all touched by Tori’s personality and bright spirit. Their words here add color to a life well-lived.
Sarah Pritchard, a friend of Tori’s and a Carroll graduate says, “I’m sure you’ll just hear the same thing if you ask anyone- Tori radiated positive energy. Whether we were tutoring, back in high school or at a friends outside of school you couldn’t catch her without a smile.”
Rebecca Milton, also a tutor at Carroll, remembered: “Tori and I had a comfortable routine when we tutored together at Carroll Community College. She brought her coffee, piles of schoolwork, and ready smile, and I brought my tea to the Academic Center, where we had shared or bordering shifts. We would discuss life, ways to help struggling students, and the inevitability of rearranging our schedules to meet our students’ needs. I missed Tori greatly when she transferred to Stevenson and find myself still shocked that we will never share our thoughts again.”
Myung Schindehette, an academic services learning specialist at Carroll speaks of Tori being an accomplished, dedicated student who not only touched the academic lives of students and friends through her tutoring sessions, but also through her uplifting personality and selfless demeanor.
“Tori was an excellent student as well as a dependable and caring peer tutor at Carroll,” says Schindehette. “She tutored for us during her second year at Carroll, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. Based on her accomplishments and writing ability, she was approved by the Academic Services Chair to be our writing consultant. She also tutored math courses which she took at Carroll and mastered by receiving “A”s. Tori was kind and friendly and positively touched many lives at Carroll including in the Academic Center as a tutor to many students and a friend to many tutors. Other than the students who no longer needed tutoring, all of the students who were assigned to her stayed with her as her students, some even for 12 weeks. This is one of the indications that the students were pleased with her and wanted to keep her as their tutor. One of the tutors commented to me that she was a good tutor who was caring and patient. Other tutors who got to know her also value her kind and friendly spirit. She certainly had a positive impact on many lives here at Carroll. We will miss her.”
Nicholas DeTello, a Carroll student, added: “I knew Tori during my first semester at Carroll, last Fall. She was in my CIS-101 class…She was a very nice girl, I can’t believe she’s gone. I remember seeing her tutor at the tutoring center as well (I work there now myself), she seemed to be the type of person that wanted to help others.”
A website page on caringbridge.org has been created by the Chandler family in order to honor Tori’s passing and so that friends of Tori and her family can post thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and memories of Tori. In addition to Tori’s Caring Bridge page, friends can also sign an online guestbook at prittsfuneralhome.com.
The Chandler family has been given tremendous amounts of support in these past few weeks. Russ Chandler, Tori’s father, says “I’ve been blown away by the support that we’ve received.”
One need only visit Chandler’s Facebook page to see that the thoughts and prayers posted are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the strength and support given by others.
Chandler was known, and will surely be remembered, for her sense of positivity, friendly personality, and her willingness to help others. She had an adventurous spirit; she loved to travel, hike, and even took trips skydiving. In the midst of living life and going on adventures, those closest to her confirmed, she always made sure that her family and friends were put first; spending time with her loved ones was very important to her.
A service will be held for Tori in Westminster at Pritts Funeral Home and Chapel, 412 Washington Road. There will be a viewing on Thursday, November 21 from 2-4 p.m. and from 6-8 p.m. There will also be an additional viewing at 10 a.m. on Friday for those who can’t make it on Thursday, and then Tori’s service will begin at 11 a.m.
The-Quill staff sends their condolences to the Chandler family.