Julie Nagel, a 19-year-old college sophomore, died in a car accident while driving back to her North Potomac home during fall break last weekend. She was transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she died on Saturday, Oct. 8.
“She was just larger than life and always had a smile on her face,” said Lauren Diederich, Nagel’s older sister. “She loved every second of her life.”
Nagel captained the field hockey and lacrosse teams at Thomas Wootton High School, and she continued to play field hockey at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
“People were just drawn to her,” said Shelly Pine, a longtime friend of the Nagels. “She was both a lot of fun and very dedicated.”
Both qualities made Julie a team favorite, first at Wootton, then at Appalachian State. Steve Swift, Julie’s coach on the Wootton field hockey team, said Julie was an ideal captain because she was both fun and inspiring.
“She was one of the top people I ever coached,” said Swift, who coached Wootton’s field hockey team for 13 years.
“She did not take herself too seriously, but she took what she did very seriously,” Swift said. “People always took [her criticism] well because they knew she worked herself. … She always sought to improve.”
ONE OF JULIE’S friends said she would go into 7-Eleven and come out with snacks, drinks and a new friend in the cashier. As a student at Wootton, she was the same, Swift said.
“She had the personality where she knew everybody,” Swift said. “Teachers knew her, custodians knew her, security guards knew her.”
“She was not just a girl who stayed in one circle,” Diederich said. She had friends in many walks of life, and brought her camera everywhere to make sure she could see pictures of everybody when she was away from home.
After graduating from Wootton in 2004, Julie was determined to play Division I college field hockey, said Diedrich. It played a large part in her choice of Appalachian State.
“She loved her field hockey — it was everything to her,” Diederich said.
In her sophomore season, Julie appeared in eight games for Appalachian State, starting two games. She was also a member of the academic honor roll at Appalachian State, where she was an elementary education major. This fall, she was also a pledge of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
NAGEL IS SURVIVED by her parents Jim and Susan, her sisters Lauren and Kelly, and grandparents Fred and Annette Nagel and Joyce and Bill Jackson.
Friends from Appalachian State and Wootton came to the area for Nagel’s funeral, which was held at River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda on Wednesday, Oct. 12
In lieu of flowers, Nagel’s family suggests a memorial contribution to YMCA Camp Tockwogh — Campaign for Kids Scholarship Fund at 24370 Still Pond Neck Road, Worton, MD 21678.