Friends of Conservatory student Andrew Goldbranson reflect on his life three months after his death.
Sophomore Meghan Storts said she can still feel the warmth of Andrew Goldbranson’s hugs almost three months after his death.
Goldbranson, 19, died July 10. He spent a week in a medically induced coma due to injuries he sustained in a moped accident. Goldbranson majored in acting at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster.
“He was special to everybody,” Storts said. “He was warm in every sense, not even just warm to the touch but as a person.”
Goldbranson’s accident occurred July 3 after he crashed a moped near Fish Creek, Wisconsin. He wore a helmet and was not impaired, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Storts said when her friend called with the news of Goldbranson’s death, she sat in her car on the side of the road in her hometown of Augusta, Mo., thinking it was a prank.
Three hundred fifty miles away in Nashville, Tenn., former Webster student Molly Duke could not believe the news either.
“I thought it was a joke for a long time,” Duke said. “I didn’t know what to do because I was very much convinced that it couldn’t be real.”
Acting Professor Rayme Cornell taught Goldbranson for his first year at the conservatory. When she learned of his death, Cornell said she called all of her students to ask if they felt alright.
Conservatory students become very close due to the intimate work they do, according to Cornell. She described Golbranson as extremely kind and talented student.
“It was a blow certainly to his class,” Cornell said. “It was very hard.”
Duke, Storts and Goldbranson were part of a friend group that hung out every day.
Sophomore Bryce Miller said practically a million things ran through his mind when he heard of Goldbranson’s hospitalization. Most of Miller’s classmates learned of Goldbranson’s death before he did.
He looked down at his phone late at night to several missed calls and texts from his classmates.
“Was he going to wake up? What’s he going to be like when he wakes up? Will he come back to school?” Miller said he asked himself.
He planned on driving to Goldbranson’s hospital with friends Jade Collins and Chase Tilden.
Tilden said his favorite memory of Goldbranson came after his death. When he cleaned out his car, he found several things Andrew left behind.
“I pulled out a grouping of like, nine or 10 packages of Goldfish,” Tilden said. “His favorite snack was Goldfish and Pepsi. It looked like he constantly planted all these empty packs there, and I was so upset with him.”
He’d always leave things behind: t-shirts in his friends’ dorm rooms, albums or receipts.
Collins said she always begged Goldbranson to take out a box of Cheetos he left in her dorm.
Miller said he regretted not holding on to things as much as his peers did. Instead, he thought of happy memories he had with Goldbranson. When he learned of his death, Miller thought of a camping trip he and Goldbranson went on with members of their class.
“It was the worst camping trip,” Miller said. “We drove way too far, and when we got to the spot, it was dark and rainy, but Andrew was just being so funny that night. He made everyone forget we were having a miserable time.”
Tilden said last year, he and his friends took trips to downtown Kirkwood, drove around looking at mansions, hung out in Forest Park and always had long late-night talks.
“It sounds very boring when we talk about it now,” Tilden said.
No matter what they did, Goldbranson made things better, according to Collins.
“Andrew always made it fun,” Collins said.
Duke said Goldbranson will live on in her memories.
Storts wrote a song for Goldbranson with her friend Lize Lewy for Goldbranson’s memorial in early September.
Goldbranson will live on in Lewy’s song, Duke said. Storts studies photography at Webster. She said she will always keep her photos of him, the post-its he wrote to her saying, “Love you,” and a polaroid of them both sitting in the back of a car.
Miller said Goldbranson’s worst fear was being forgotten.
Cornell said she will never forget one of Goldbranson’s acting choices. During a play, instead of saying his line, “Hey, Robin,” he sang it to the tune of Red Robin’s theme song.
“Anytime I see that commercial for Red Robin, I will think of him, and I will think of him for the rest of my life,” Cornell said. “Everytime I will drive by a Red Robin, or see the commercial, I will think of Andrew Goldbranson because he was brilliant.”
A family friend of Goldbranson created a GoFund Me page to help the Goldbranson family with unexpected costs.
Goldbranson’s mother Gloria Goldbranson and sister Megan Goldbranson will create a scholarship in Goldbranson’s name with money donated to the fund.