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Accident on campus claims UConn worker
Memorial service planned for Wednesday
February 1, 1999
A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on North Eagleville Road for Virginia Maheu, who was struck by a car and killed January 25 while working in the UConn Co-op's metered parking lot.
The accident, which occurred just after 11 a.m., as students were changing classes, shocked and saddened the community, including UConn alumni who called offices and media outlets seeking information on the woman they remembered as one of the University's friendly, but firm, "meter maids."
"Her loss diminishes the entire University. Our sorrow is compounded in knowing that, for some 30 years, she was an integral part of the fabric of our daily, weekly, or occasional lives, serving for so long and so well those who studied, worked and visited here," Chancellor Mark A. Emmert said.
A bouquet of flowers marked the spot, the guard booth at the entrance to the metered parking lot between the Bousfield Psychology Building and the Co-op, where Maheu had worked since August, handing out visitor passes and trying to keep order in the busy lot, one of the few locations near center campus still accessible to cars. UConn police on Thursday were continuing their investigation into the accident.
An on-campus memorial service for Maheu is being planned for the near future. Details are being worked out by a group of her associates and UConn officials.
"Virginia took her job very seriously," recalled Georgia Gagne, who worked as a building and grounds officer at the same time as Maheu and, later, became a manager in the parking services division. "Your status at the University did not deter her from issuing a parking citation if your vehicle was illegally parked" in rain or shine, she said.
"During one rainy spring season I received a call to meet Virginia behind the Field House. I drove around the back of the building and came upon a very irate Virginia, dripping wet. Seems that she had given a ticket to a carload of young gentlemen, who decided to reciprocate and waited for her to approach a large puddle, which they sped through and totally soaked her. After I determined that only her pride was hurt, I couldn't help but lAugust at the sight before me. She was quite irate with me for a few weeks," Gagne said.
Harry J. Hartley, who for more than two decades worked in Gulley Hall and the Budds Building, first as a vice president and then, from 1990-1996, as president, had regular conversations with Maheu as she patrolled the Gulley Hall parking area. He agrees with Gagne although, since he had a reserved parking spot, Maheu never actually gave him a ticket.
"She threatened me a few times, though," Hartley said. "She was direct, honest, and a good person. Professional all the way. She didn't have any trouble telling me her views about current University issues. And I listened. She cared about UConn, she expressed her views and, generally, when I checked into an issue I found she was right. She became a very good source for me (to learn about issues). She was always trying to do what was best for UConn."
Maheu joined UConn in 1968, and worked in parking services for more than 20 years, retiring in 1991. Two years after leaving, however, she returned to campus as a special payroll employee, working five more years for the parking and transportation office. She was hired by the UConn Co-op last August to patrol the metered lot and distribute visitor passes.
Maheu leaves two daughters, a son, six sisters, six brothers, and six grandchildren. She was predeceased by two brothers.