Friends remember Megan Boken's happiness; counseled about conflicting feelings

2012-08-24T00:15:00Z 2013-01-21T11:28:09Z Friends remember Megan Boken's happiness; counseled about conflicting feelingsBY STEPHEN DEERE • > 314-340-8116

ST. LOUIS • They called her "Boke" for short. She wore the number 20 and liked to pump her fist after a good block on the volleyball court.

But more than anything, Megan Boken was known for her laugh.

"That laugh was unmistakable, so genuine and completely contagious," said former teammate Sutton Lasater at a memorial service for Boken on Thursday morning.

More than 75 people gathered at the St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on the campus of St. Louis University to mourn Boken's death.

Boken had returned to St. Louis from the Chicago area to interview for jobs and play in the university's alumni match, which pits former SLU players against the school's current team.

Less than two hours before the match on Saturday afternoon, Boken, 23, was shot and killed in an apparent robbery attempt in the Central West End.

Boken graduated from SLU in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Lasater said volleyball was Boken's passion.

The service was held at the same time as Boken's funeral service in Wheaton, Ill.

SLU officials had counselors attend the service at St. Francis Xavier for anyone who needed help dealing with their grief.

A picture of Boken during a game was positioned near the altar.

Lasater said one of her fondest memories of Boken occurred after a prank that seniors on the volleyball team played on underclassmen a few years back. It was during the swine flu outbreak, and freshmen players were told they had to wear masks during practice to prevent infection.

Lasater recalled watching Boken, a freshman at the time, trying to surreptitiously breathe out of the side of her mask. When Boken learned the joke was on her, she couldn't stop laughing.

"They could hardly get her up off the floor," Lasater said.

The Rev. Donald Highberger, who officiated at the local service, said Boken's death stirred a strange mixture of emotions — anger at the senselessness and joy at remembering how Boken had lived.

"It's good, it's natural, it's normal for us not to know what to feel," Highberger said.

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