MAGNOLIA – Shelby Seabaugh, a junior Christian studies/philosophy major at Ouachita Baptist University from Magnolia, died unexpectedly March 27.
Seabaugh, 21, is survived by her parents, Michael and Laurie Seabaugh, and her siblings, Haydn and Gracen. Michael Seabaugh, a graduate of Columbia Christian School and a 1985 graduate of Ouachita, has been pastor of Central Baptist Church, Magnolia, since 2010. She is also survived by her fiancé, Joshua Cassidy, and many other family members, including her grandparents, Rodney and Rosemary Griffin, of Magnolia, and Wayne and Glenda Seabaugh, who attend Balboa Baptist Church in Hot Springs Village.
Shelby Seabaugh was a summer staff member of Camp Siloam in 2012 and 2013 and played a prominent roll as a lead member of the drama team, said Jason Wilkie, executive director of Camp Siloam.
"The Seabaugh family is a very loved family by the Camp Siloam family – by everybody who has attended Camp Siloam and the staff – and our hearts have gone out to them in their loss," Wilkie said. "We were blessed to have Shelby as part of our summer staff the last two years. ... She was the kind of girl who would find the camper who was sitting alone and maybe wasn’t the most popular camper and would sit down and talk to them. She really had a heart and intuition for those who were hurting."
Wilkie said that, last year, he and Seabaugh's parents wrote an original play for Camp Siloam with Seabaugh in mind for the lead.
"In her death, I kind of thought of that as her ‘swan song’ and how great it was that we got to be a part of it," he said. "In her death, she has preached her greatest message, helping all of us consider the fragileness of life and the hope of eternity and (that) when you make Jesus Lord of your life, it means you go when He calls, even if He’s calling you to heaven. She was a treasure.”
Seabaugh was involved in a number of campus organizations at Ouachita, including the Ouachita Student Foundation, EEE women’s social club and Pruet Sisterhood. A Tiger Network Leadership Award recipient, she also was involved in the Carl Goodson Honors Program and was on the dean’s list.
Recalling that “Shelby was excited about coming to Ouachita,” President Rex Horne said, “Her smile and enthusiasm about Ouachita was contagious. Now for nearly three years on campus, I saw her smile and felt her joy of being in this special place.”
Affirming the Seabaugh family’s commitment to “faithfully serving the Lord,” he said, “We will all pray for the Seabaugh family. We all feel a depth of sorrow and want to help shoulder the burden of grief. It’s certainly a loss to Ouachita.
“There is also gratitude,” Horne added. “Because of Jesus' resurrection, this is not a final goodbye, but a brief time until we'll see Shelby again. In the meantime, we will cling to the One who gives life, forgiveness of sin and hope.”
“Shelby Seabaugh had an infectious smile, a genuine love for people and a passion for Christ,” said Scott Jackson, associate professor of Christian ministries in Ouachita’s Pruet School of Christian Studies. “She truly displayed a contagious Christian faith.
“Recently, Shelby taught a Bible study in my Communicating the Gospel class,” he reflected. “Her passage was from Colossians 1:15-20, which reads in part, ‘And he (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.’ Shelby taught with great humor, theological savvy and passion for Jesus. She knew Him well and loved Him dearly. I’m thankful that today she is in His glorious presence.”
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, at Lewis Funeral Home, 420 N. Jackson St., in Magnolia. The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at Central Baptist Church and will be officiated by Jackson and Wilkie. Burial will follow at Sharman Cemetery under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home Inc. in Magnolia. A memorial service for the university community will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in Jones Performing Arts Center on the Ouachita campus.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ouachita Baptist University, 410 Ouachita St., Arkadelphia, AR 71998; Camp Siloam Springs, 3600 Lincoln St., Siloam Springs, AR 72761, or Central Baptist Church, 207 West Union, Magnolia, AR 71753.
This marks the second tragedy to impact the Ouachita campus in less than a week. Andrew Hernandez, a 2012 Ouachita graduate, died March 22 in a single-car accident.
Andrew, 25, was the manager of TaMolly’s Mexican Restaurant in Arkadelphia. He is survived by his parents, Andres Hernandez Mendoza and Servanda Jacinto Lopez; three brothers, Oscar Hernandez, David Noriega and Damian Noriega, and three sisters, Mariela Hernandez, Edith Hernandez and Valeria Torres, a freshman at Ouachita. His mother works on Ouachita’s building services staff.
Andrew’s obituary affirmed that he "filled everyone around him with love, laughter and care," adding that "he will be remembered by his generosity and infectious smile."
His memorial service was held March 29 at Second Baptist Church, Arkadelphia.
– Compiled from Ouachita Baptist University, The Magnolia Reporter and Arkansas Baptist News reports