Rachel Smylie died in a single-car crash, April 7, in Namibia. According to a source, she was traveling with four students in a rented vehicle at the time of the accident. The other four students, though their conditions are unknown at this time, reportedly survived the crash.
The 2011 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, former volleyball and lacrosse player, and a junior at the University of Michigan, was spending her spring semester studying abroad in Cape Town.
"She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside," said neighbor Kelly Bonaccorsi.
Bonaccorsi described Rachel, her children's former babysitter, as vivacious, engaging, outgoing, adventurous and very smart.
"The whole community is devastated," said Bonaccorsi.
Neighbors and friends placed candles outside of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hills-DeCaro House, the Smylies' home, Monday night, said family friend Diana Rasche.
Rachel's father, Mark Smylie, was home and came outside for a few minutes while neighbors gathered, said Rasche.
Her father, mother, two sisters and brother-in-law visited Rachel in Cape Town a week or so prior to her death.
Smylie is survived by her mother and father, Sallie and Mark, and sisters Lauren Smylie Gage and Anna Smylie.
The Wednesday Journal would like to create a photo gallery to commemorate Rachel Smylie. If you would like to submit a photo of Rachel or of you with Rachel for the gallery, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must own the rights to or have permission to use the photo you submit.