Gina Clarke-Lewis, 27, a public health major, was killed in front of her Lindenwold, N.J. home. Now, her friends are fundraising to honor the memory of the goal-oriented student.
Gina Clarke-Lewis was a student, an intern, a waitress, a sister and a friend.
But the 27-year-old’s life came to a tragic halt March 26, when she was gunned down in front of her residence at The Landings at Pine Lake in Lindenwold, N.J.
Clarke-Lewis was found at approximately 10 p.m. in front of her apartment and pronounced dead at 1 a.m. the next day.
While media outlets have reported speculation that an ex-boyfriend is behind the murder, no suspects have been named.
“We’re not ready at this point to categorize it [as a domestic violence murder] or name any suspects,” Jason Laughlin, a spokesperson for the Camden County Prosecutor’s office, said.
Clarke-Lewis is survived by her parents, several brothers and sisters and extended family members.
Brittany Lewis, Clarke-Lewis’ sister and a sophomore journalism and African-American studies major, described Clarke-Lewis as always “putting a smile on everyone’s face.”
“She was the glue that kept our family and friends together,” Lewis said.
Lewis said her sister participated in cheerleading for a period of time, was very involved with her church and was an intern at nonprofit organization Girls, Inc.
Clarke-Lewis wanted to go to graduate school and become a teacher, Lewis added.
“She was always the leader, the strong person … always very independent,” she said.
Before the shooting, Clarke-Lewis had been waitressing at her job at Cibo Bistro & Wine Bar at the Philadelphia International Airport and stopped to pick up food before returning home.
Jenna Scott, a 2004 Temple alumna, met Clarke-Lewis in 2002 and had been her roommate since July.
Scott said that she and Clarke-Lewis had been text messaging each other throughout the night of Clark-Lewis’ death.
After stepping out to buy dinner, Scott said she returned to a taped-off apartment and suspected something odd after her calls to Clarke-Lewis went unanswered.
Scott described Clarke-Lewis as goal-oriented and determined to complete her education.
“She had a lot of goals and was very focused on achieving them,” she said. “It’s really sad that this would happen to someone that was so inspiring.”
“She was the sister I never had. She’s irreplaceable in my life,” Scott added.
Childhood friend Genia Chapman, 25, said Clarke-Lewis’ connection to Temple sparked in high school.
“In high school she was dead set on going to Temple,” Chapman said. “Even though she took time off, she was set on graduating from there.”
Rashida Howe, a senior public health major, said Clarke-Lewis was one of her best friends on campus.
“Gina was my Temple sister,” Howe said. “I’ll miss her very much.”
Many of Clarke-Lewis’ friends urged people to support upcoming fundraisers that will benefit her family’s payment of funeral expenses.
Consuelo Davis, a 2005 Temple alumnus, said during the tailgate of the Cherry and White game this Saturday, friends will host a bake sale, where they will also accept donations.
A Web site, inmemoryofgina.weebly.com, has been created to allow people to donate money online through PayPal.
On Friday, Temple’s Young Alumni Association will be hosting a toast in Clarke-Lewis’ honor at the Draught Horse at 7 p.m.
“She was a really great friend to all of her friends. It was a huge loss to a lot of people,” Davis said. “We’ll all miss her.”
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.