'A reassuring smile': UC Berkeley student Jessica Christie dies at 23

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NOVEMBER 19, 2018

UC Berkeley student Jessica Christie, 23, died after a motorcycle accident early morning Nov. 5 in San Francisco.

According to San Francisco Police Department Officer Joseph Tomlinson, Christie was headed east on Broadway on a motorcycle when she crashed into a vehicle at Broadway and Stockton Street about 5:57 a.m. She died of her injuries at a local hospital.

“She was strong independent, powerful, creative, and resourceful,” said Joshua Christie, her older brother, in an email. “Women like her are the future of this country. She could bring you back down to earth with a glance, and just as easily build you back up with a reassuring smile.”

Christie loved the water, according to a statement written by her family and provided by Alli Cornwall, a close family friend. Christie was on the swim team and a lifeguard.

Her family said it knew Jessica was “brilliant” from a young age. Christie wanted a diary before she could spell, and to the surprise of her family, she already knew all the letters, according to the family’s statement. Her love for literature started with her father’s reading of “The Wind in the Willows,” when her father would act out all the voices. She entered an online poetry contest at age 12 and won.

Her family said although she loved to learn and especially loved literature, Christie left traditional school in favor of independent study in which she excelled, according to her family. She traveled to Norway, Romania and Italy, among other places.

When Christie returned to the U.S., she received her Associate of Arts degree in English from Diablo Valley College. She then started school at UC Berkeley, where she would have graduated this academic year with a bachelor’s degree in English.

“Jessica is the strongest willed person I have ever known,” Joshua Christie said in an email. “It was never a question of what she could achieve, but rather what she set out to do.”

Christie loved specialty coffee. She worked at several coffee shops, including Peet’s Coffee, Coffee Shop in Walnut Creek, Sightglass Coffee in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Saint Frank Coffee in San Francisco. Christie’s goal was to compete in the World Barista Championship in which a barista’s signature drink is judged on innovation. She loved “the craft and science of coffee,” according to her family, and while she was a full-time student, she worked every free minute making coffee.

“She lived fast, worked hard and was always on the move, but never failed to take the time to stop and listen if you had something to say,” Joshua Christie said in an email. “Her uncompromising honesty was coupled with her kindness and generosity in a way that left an impact on people no matter how small the interaction.”

According to the Christie family, “Once she gained confidence, there was not stopping her.”

“Knowing Jessica’s drive, her iron will and her innate talents, there is no telling of what Jessica would have accomplished,” the family’s statement said. “Since her time was cut too short on our earthly plane, we her family, ask you to take on Jessica’s legacy. Work every day to live and love life to the fullest, as she did. Don’t wait to let those around you know that you love them and take every opportunity granted to you and to be true to yourself.”

Christie is survived by her parents, Penny and Scott Christie, and her siblings, Steven, Jonathan, Joshua and Samantha Christie.

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NOVEMBER 20, 2018