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Courageous Student Mourned

June 13, 2005

Cody Dieruf ‘05, from Bozeman, Montana, died April 28, 2005, after a long struggle with cystic fibrosis. The 23-year-old, who was just a few days shy of graduating, received her degree in sociology and anthropology posthumously during undergraduate commencement on May 8.

Dieruf’s death came as a shock, even to those who knew her well. She had been hospitalized a number of times for treatment of cystic fibrosis during her years at Lewis & Clark but had always managed to bounce back. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disorder that causes severe lung damage and nutritional deficiencies.


In lieu of a typical obituary in the local newspaper, the Dierufs published a piece their daughter had written before her death. “I used to lie awake at night thinking of the futures I would never achieve–graduate school, an established career, the archetypal house with the white picket fence and matching porch swing, Saturday morning cartoons with the kids and playing catch in the yard, even things like wrinkles … and the way my hands will spot and stain with age,” she wrote.

“Now, however, I dream about how I can make the time I have remaining as incredible and meaningful as is possible … because I know this body and these minutes are not forever.”


Dieruf was a ballet dancer with an angelic smile. At her memorial service in Bozeman, one of her many friends described her as beautiful, graceful, and thoughtful with “a certain wisdom that can only come from truly understanding mortality.”


Survivors include her parents, George and Ginny Dieruf, and her brother and best friend, Levi.


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease afflicting more than 30,000 children and young adults in the U.S. The defective CF gene causes consistent and life-threatening lung infections. Currently there is no cure, but with your help, there can be. Please visit to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of those with CF.

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