Monday, August 20, 2012 | 7:24 p.m. CDT
COLUMBIA — Kelly Needham spent this summer as an intern with Aflac Insurance in Peoria, Ill., capping off a successful junior year at MU, where he studied business administration. Everywhere he worked, studied or played, those around him remembered his smile and positive attitude.
"He was very much a go-getter. ... Nobody turned him away," said Kathy Meister, an administrator at Aflac who worked with Mr. Needham this summer.
Timothy "Kelly" K. Needham died Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, Wis., following a two-vehicle accident near Minoqua,Wis., on Aug. 13.
A strong work ethic was evident throughout Mr. Needham's life. He held jobs at Jimmy's Bar and Rovertown in Peoria over the summer. In Columbia, he worked at the MU Student Recreation Complex.
"He was always joyful and filled with enthusiasm for the Mizzou community," said Diane Dahlmann, director of Mizzou Rec Services and Facilities. Mr. Needham assisted with Rec Sports, Brewer Station's laundry and equipment services and was a coordinator for athletics events. He was also a member of Team Mizzou, a MU student staffing and leadership program, as well as a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Mr. Needham's fellow students and MU faculty remembered the positive attitude he exhibited.
"Over the past week, the outpouring of support from the Greek community and Mizzou as a whole has been tremendous," said Charlie Landis, Delta Tau Delta chapter president.
Pledge brother and close friend Jacob Lenox recalled how Mr. Needham's 21st birthday happened to fall on the same day as the Missouri-Kansas basketball game. Regardless of fraternity or sorority affiliation, Mr. Needham wanted all of his friends to be at the same place to celebrate Missouri's win.
"He was just the type of person you wanted to be around, to have fun with,"Lenox said. "At the end of the night, he said, 'This is the best birthday ever. I love all of my friends.'"
Mr. Needham built friendships everywhere he went and was a strong role model for his younger brother, Connor, said Mary Vosberg, Mr. Needham's maternal grandmother.
He was active in the St. Philomena Parish, graduating from the school before attending Peoria Notre Dame High School.
"Everybody absolutely loved him ... He was just a great man," said the Rev. David Richardson of St. Philomena Catholic Church.
While attending high school, Mr. Needham played numerous sports, including cross-country, golf, baseball and soccer.
"He made us a better school; he was a role model for a lot of students," said principal Charlie Roy.
Outside of class, Mr. Needham loved fishing, golfing and camping with family and friends.
"He loved people. ... He was an outgoing, wonderful person," Vosberg said.
A moment of silence was observed Sunday at Memorial Union, and the "M standard" flag will be flown at half-staff at the MU rec complex until Labor Day, Dahlmann said.
The Team Missouri Advisory Committee is considering naming a Mizzou Performance Award for athletics in Mr. Needham's honor, she said.
Survivors include his parents Joseph "Dewey" and Patricia "Trish" (Vosberg) Needham of Peoria, Ill.; a brother, Connor Needham of Peoria, Ill.; his maternal grandfather, Richard Vosberg and his wife, Sherry, of Peoria; maternal grandmother, Mary Vosberg and her husband, Jack Ewend, of Peoria; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
His paternal grandparents, Joseph and Sheila Needham, died earlier.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Philomena Catholic Church, with the Rev. David Richardson officiating.
Memorial contributions may be presented to St. Philomena Parish, 3300 N. 12 Oaks Drive, Peoria, IL 61604 or Peoria Notre Dame High School, 5105 N. Sheridan Road, Peoria, IL 61614.