People who knew her said she had an infectious laugh, one that lit up every room she was in.
A natural born teacher, 20-year-old Kendall Douglas was finishing up her junior year at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to become an elementary school teacher when she died after a car crash Sunday night near St. Peters, Missouri.
Her parents said they can't sum up or describe all the things they'll miss about her — things like her hugs, her texts and her cuddles on the couch when she came home from school to visit.
"She was the complete package," said Warren Douglas, Kendall's father. "When she walked into a room, everything just got better."
In the days following Kendall's death, her parents have taken comfort in the hundreds of comments and posts on social media sharing how Kendall had affected their lives. From her sorority sisters — Kendall was in Delta Phi Epsilon — her softball friends, fellow education majors and old high school friends, they said Kendall had a wide circle of friends.
But the outpouring of emotion shocked Kendall's parents. People weren't only posting messages like "rest in peace," they shared stories and memories of Kendall, showing her parents how many lives she touched.
Sarah Douglas, Kendall's mother, said Kendall's kids were also drawn to her; they could sense that she adored them.
Kendall always knew she wanted to work with kids, but she was hesitant to become a teacher until she volunteered at a summer reading camp for third- and fourth-graders. Then she realized she was destined to teach, her parents said.
"She was her own person, never swayed, never tried to change who she was just to blend in with a group," Warren said. "It hurts, because she was one of the good ones, and she didn’t deserve what she got."
Kendall was driving eastbound Sunday just before 9:30 p.m. on Interstate 70 near Missouri 370, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report. A car in front of her, an unoccupied 2011 Kia Optima, was stopped due to a previous crash, and Kendall slowed and stopped behind the Kia. Another vehicle struck the back of Kendall's car, pushing it forward into the Kia.
She was taken to SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri, where she was pronounced dead at 3:48 a.m. Monday.
"Her life was cut short way too soon," Sarah said. "She got to experience a lot in her short time and took advantage of every opportunity she could. ... In her 20 years, I can say she lived life to the fullest."