Bethany Nesbitt is the third-year Grace College student who was found dead in her residence hall on campus in Winona Lake, Indiana, on Friday, October 30. According to Nesbitt’s obituary, which was written by her father, her likely cause of death is COVID-19.
Nesbitt was first identified as the deceased person in a statement from the school. She was found unresponsive around 10 a.m. Nesbitt’s cause of death was not immediately clear, the statement said, but some causes could be ruled out right away. “While we await answers on the cause of her death, there is no reason to suspect foul play or self-harm,” the statement said.
A Facebook post shared by Nesbitt’s father, Steve Nesbitt, attributes her death to COVID-19.
“Yesterday morning, my wife and I learned that our youngest child, Bethany (20), who was away at Grace College in Indiana, passed away during the night in her dorm room, apparently from Covid, from which doctors thought she was recovering well, but which was undoubtedly complicated by her asthma,” Steve Nesbitt wrote.
In another post, Steve Nesbitt says his daughter “had suffered from symptoms consistent with COVID-19 for 10 days, awaiting test results but treated as a presumptive positive by her doctors.”
As a result of Nesbitt’s death, Grace College canceled all school activities. A campus-wide prayer meeting was held for students at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center on October 30.
Grace College President Dr. Bill Katip, who led the prayer meeting, said he has been in close contact with Nesbitt’s family since she was found dead. “We share a mutual trust in the Lord and dependency on His mercy and grace,” he said. “We will continue to support the Nesbitt family in any way possible as they process the tragic news and mourn the loss of their daughter.”
Nesbitt Was a Psychology Major Who Wanted to Dedicate Her Life to Helping Children
Grace College & Seminary is an evangelical Christian college located 130 miles north of Indianapolis. According to the Grace College press release, Nesbitt was a native of Grand Ledge, Michigan, a town around 150 miles north of the college campus. The press release says that Nesbitt was a third-year psychology major at the school, and she was the youngest of nine children.
Her goal was to become a child life specialist and work with disabled and sick children, the press release said. Nesbitt is described by the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences Dr. Kevin Roberts as “an extremely bright and quick-witted young woman who demonstrated a laser focus in her career aspirations to serve hurting children.”
Her resident director Alicia Meyer remembered Nesbitt as “incredibly sweet” and “remarkably thoughtful.” Meyer added, “She was known to shout across the hall with friends and make others laugh.”
Nesbitt’s Family Spent 13 Years in France Working as Evangelical Christian Missionaries
Nesbitt was due to graduate in May 2021. According to Nesbitt’s Facebook page, she began studying at Grace College in 2018, and she was a graduate of Grand Ledge High School.
One of Nesbitt’s brothers is celebrated sportswriter Stephen Nesbitt, who is on staff at The Athletic. In April 2013, while he was a student at the University of Michigan, Stephen Nesbitt wrote about his family’s history. According to Stephen Nesbitt, his parents moved to northern France in 1984 to become Christian evangelical missionaries. The family remained in France until 1998, when they returned to Michigan.
Stephen Nesbitt wrote in his piece, “Bethany was born in 2000. That year, the Nesbitts, a family of 11, survived on $10,000, faith, and a lot of prayers.” A separate profile on Nesbitt’s father says that he and his wife live in Michigan. Nesbitt’s mother is a registered nurse and lactation specialist, while her father is a Spanish, French and English teacher who grows his own produce and raises poultry.