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ISU Golfer Remembered For Her Smile, Love, Lasting Impact On Community

Amy Mayer
Mourners Honor Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena at the conclusion of a vigil Wednesday."

A civil engineering student from Spain and Big 12 women’s golf champion could fill a room with her smile. That’s how one professor remembered Celia Barquín Arozamena at a vigil on the Iowa State University campus Wednesday.

“I think about how hard she worked in her classes,” said Jim Alleman, an ISU professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering. Even in his difficult classes that didn’t often generate happy expressions among students, Alleman said he would look out at their faces and see Barquín Arozamena smiling.  

“Her hardworking ethic was extraordinary, as well. And at the same time she was remarkably humble.”

Hundreds gathered on the expansive lawn in front of ISU's campanile bell tower to remember Barquín Arozamena, who was killed Monday on a golf course in Ames.

“Yes, she was an amazing golfer. Yes, she was a terrific engineering student. Yes, she even died a horrific death,” said Anna Yurrick, a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. “But this is not actually who she was. Celia was a woman of greatness—great faith, great joy, great love.”

Barquín Arozamena’s coach at ISU, Christie Martens, described a loyal team member whose death reverberated throughout the golf world. The Northwestern University women’s golf team, she said, came from a tournament to be in Ames for the vigil

Barquín Arozamena’s boyfriend, Carlos Negrin Bolaños, offered the last tribute. He shared details of their courtship and described a conversation they’d had Saturday about how happy they were. He’s been in touch with Barquín’s family in Spain this week and conveyed their thanks to the golf team and the ISU community for giving their daughter a second home and family in Iowa. Negrin Bolaños said he was glad to have told her Monday morning as he left for work that he loved her.

“On your way home, please call your mother,” he said. “If you take something from this, call mom, tell her you love her. It’s so easy. It doesn’t take a minute, I promise you, she’ll be forever grateful.”

Barquín Arozamena will be honored at the Iowa State football game on Saturday. A ceremony recognizing her as Iowa State’s Female Athlete of the Year had been scheduled. Instead, fans are asked to wear yellow, her favorite color, and arrive early for a pre-game memorial.

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames