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Gazette 7-29-2010 (Hill)

Thursday, July 29, 2010 (c) 2010 Gazette.Net 

College Park woman killed in storm remembered as friend, devoted mother

Service to be held Friday for longtime UM employee, community volunteer

by David Hill | Staff Writer

Days after Michelle Humanick was killed by a falling tree while driving in College Park, friends and colleagues remembered her as a creative, compassionate person and loving mother.

Humanick, 44, of College Park was driving with her mother-in-law during a thunderstorm Sunday afternoon when a damaged tree fell on the roof of their minivan along Rhode Island Avenue. Humanick was killed instantly and her mother-in-law, 64-year-old Roberta Lantz, was taken to a hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Friends said Humanick was a devoted wife and mother to two daughters, and that she made many friends in the city through her friendly demeanor and community work.

"She was the one person in the community that everyone saw on a regular basis and always felt good about seeing," said City Councilman Mark Cook (Dist. 3), who lives in the same Yarrow neighborhood as Humanick. "She was the radiant light of Yarrow."

Humanick was married for 16 years to Clay Gump, and worked for more than 10 years in the Resident Life department at the University of Maryland, College Park, before leaving in 2007 to spend more time with her family.

Both Humanick and Gump were alumni of the university, graduating in 1997 and 2000, respectively. Humanick continued to do part-time work at UM, but spent much of her time caring for their two young, adopted daughters, Sophie and Amelia.

"Michelle was an extraordinary woman who so warmly touched the lives of all who knew her and who took such joy in family life," Resident Life director Deb Grandner said in a statement.

Humanick was also a former member of the city's Recreation Board, volunteered with the Yarrow neighborhood watch and served as a board member at her daughters' nursery school. She and Gump also hosted regular poker tournaments at their home, which raised more than $5,000 for charity since 2004.

"She was so nice and so friendly all the time," said neighbor Renata Barski. "Even though I didn't know her that well, it was a shock, and I feel like I lost a good friend."

Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3) said she knew Humanick for about three years and that Humanick's generosity drove her to volunteer in the community and reach out to neighbors.

"She was the kind of person that you just felt an instant connection with. She was just so warm and kind and generous," Stullich said. "You could tell she was just a happy person, and it made you happy to be with her."

A memorial service and Mass will be held for Humanick at 10:30 a.m. Friday at UM's Memorial Chapel. She will be laid to rest Saturday in New Jersey.

The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Sophie and Amelia Gump Education Fund, c/o Juliet Johnson at Suntrust Bank, 2825 Smith Ave., Baltimore, MD 21209.