Monica Ibarra, a Michigan State University psychology sophomore, died on Jan. 11 in Shaw Hall. The Holland, Michigan native was 19 years old.
Ibarra’s family hopes that she will be remembered by many things, but most of all the care and love that she showed to her friends and family.
“Caring, kind. She had the biggest heart in the world. Just a very understanding person,” Rebecca Windle, Ibarra’s stepmother, said. “If anything, that’s how all of us would want her to be remembered by. There wasn’t a mean bone in that girl’s body. She just loved everybody.”
Windle said family was the biggest thing in Ibarra’s life. She said that Ibarra felt a certain responsibility to take care of them.
Ibarra had four siblings in total, but her relationship with her 15-year-old sister, Kylee, was the most defining. When Ibarra was home from East Lansing, Kylee was her partner for everything in life. Whether it was thrift shopping or practicing volleyball, they were attached at the hip, Windle said.
“I would have to say Kylee was just her go-to,” Windle said. “If she was down, Kylee would raise her up … Always pushing each other along.”
She served as a role model for Kylee, and Kylee served as Ibarra's motivation.
That motivation, from Kylee and elsewhere, shaped her into a hard worker. She was a go-getter who served as inspiration for those around her. From working at McDonald’s in high school to her academic aspirations at MSU, she oftentimes had “tunnel vision” towards her goals.
“Everybody in the household looked up to Monica,” Windle said. “We wanted her drive, we wanted her push.”
Her goals were always changing, though. Ibarra “wanted to be able to do everything,” and nearly everything she wanted to do was focused around helping others. Veterinary medicine and nursing were both career ideas. Most recently, Ibarra was looking into being a teacher like her step-grandfather.
“She had the world at her hands,” Windle said. “She just tried to do everything. Didn’t really sit down on one certain thing.”
The goal that Ibarra was certain about was to attend her dream school: Michigan State University. Windle said that the family is glad that she was able to achieve it.
“We’re very grateful that she accomplished that,” Windle said. “She made it. She got there.”
The one thing that didn’t change about Ibarra was her attitude towards those in her life. She never stayed angry and was always willing to drop what she was doing to help those who needed her.
“She would do anything for anybody,” Windle said. “Give her shirt off her back, didn’t matter who you were or what you were doing. “If you needed something she’d make it happen.”
Friends would describe Ibarra as loud or outgoing. Her mind was always focused on what was best for those around her and was always willing to lend an ear.
“She pushed any of her friends — 'You got to go do it. Go get it!’,” Windle said. “Nice, loving, very caring, loving. Understanding. That’s pretty much Monica right there.”
Monica lives on through her father, Roman Ibarra; mother, Melissa Borden; stepmother, Windle; siblings, Laura Ibarra, Jayden Windle, Kylee Windle and Joseph Dilliner; grandparents, Eva Ibarra, Bobby Borden, Belinda and James Barrett and Ronald and Jeanette Thornburg; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitation will be held on Jan. 28 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes. Funeral service will immediately follow visitation.
To send flowers to family or share a memory of Ibarra, please visit this webpage.
Support student media!
Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.
Share and discuss “Remembering MSU student Monica Ibarra” on social media.