A lover of animals who was also a ‘wizard of wit’
Lucas Eibel loved animals. People who knew the 18-year-old described him as thoughtful and kind, with an unexpectedly wicked sense of humor. One of five siblings in a tight-knit family, he was by all accounts the quietest one of a set of fraternal quadruplets, three brothers and a sister. But not always. “Once you got him out of his shell and once you got him talking, he wouldn’t stop,” said his older brother Jakob.
Lucas was also a recipient of a Ford Sons & Daughters scholarship, and when The Ford Family Foundation sent out text messages on Oct. 1 checking on the safety of its scholarship recipients at Umpqua Community College, his text went unanswered.
He was one of nine people killed when a gunman opened fire at UCC. But the family doesn’t want to dwell on the way he died — they would rather remember the way he lived.
Lucas was in his first week of classes, after graduating from Roseburg High School with high academic honors. He was studying chemistry. He enjoyed hiking, drawing, reading, playing video games and soccer.
His family said that a love of animals was one of the mainstays of his life. He participated in Future Farmers of America during high school, and volunteered for the Wildlife Safari Junior Zookeeper program and at the Saving Grace animal shelter.
‘Ph.D. in verbal wit’
Lucas was “our wizard of wit, our king of cunning, our prince of prose, our laser-lipped lord,” his father, Keith Eibel, told an appreciative audience at the memorial service in October. “He had a couple of academic scholarships, but he already had a Ph.D. in verbal wit, at age 18. Imagine what he could have been.”
Lucas was kind of good at everything, Jakob told a television reporter, from video games to drawing to sports. “He was competitive, at the same time he was so kind-hearted. He would never trash talk, he would never do anything bad, he was just kind.”
“He would make very perceptive, quiet statements,” said his middle school science teacher. “It’s seventh grade — you don’t expect kids to be subtle, to have insight. Lucas had those things. He also had a wicked sense of humor — well beyond his years.”
Lucas was just starting to figure out where his life was headed, and was looking forward to spending the next four years with his nose in the books. At the suggestion of the Eibel family, The Ford Family Foundation is donating to UCC the remainder of Lucas’ scholarship — four years’ worth — to create an ongoing scholarship in his honor.
It’s just one way Lucas’ memory will stay alive.
Lucero Alvarez, 19
Treven Anspach, 20
Rebecka Carnes, 18
Quinn Cooper, 18
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59
Lucas Eibel, 18
Jason Johnson, 33
Lawrence Levine, 67
Sarena Moore, 44