This article was published on the Missourian on July 11, 2016. You can access the story here or read below.
Image taken by Ryan Berry. Word count: 570
COLUMBIA — Dr. Kiran Lamichhane had lived in Nepal, the United Kingdom and Texas. But he had wanted to make Columbia his new home.
Over 100 people from towns including Columbia, Jefferson City, Moberly and Fulton attended a candlelight vigil for Dr. Lamichhane Sunday at Speakers Circle on MU’s campus. He died July 1 being struck by a car while he was on his usual midday walk from ABC Laboratories, where he was a staff scientist.
“This is a huge loss for Nepal, the United States and the research community,” Dinesh Panday, the president of the MU Nepalese Student Association and an organizer of the vigil, said.
At the ceremony, Dr. Lamichhane’s first name was spelled out in candles on the cement. Friends from the Nepalese community and co-workers from ABC Laboratories, where Dr. Lamichhane worked, stood facing a poster of Dr. Lamichhane while different speakers shared their memories of him.
“We all adored his teaching and his personality,” Ananta Khanal, a former student of Dr. Lamichhane’s in Nepal, wrote in an email. “I can’t forget his vision and positivity.”
Dr. Lamichhane was born in 1980 in Gorkha district, Nepal. He attended Tribhuvan University in Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1999 to 2004, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental science. He also worked as a researcher at New ERA, a nonprofit research organization, and as a lecturer at Tribhuvan University.
Dr. Lamichhane moved to the U.K. in 2008 and then Denton, Texas, in 2009, when he was accepted into the environmental science doctoral program at the University of Northern Texas.
“He thought globally,” said Ramji Bhandari, Dr. Lamichhane’s friend and a former professor at MU.
Dr. Lamichhane wasn’t just focused on his research. Friend and colleague Subhash Pokahreal choked up while discussing Dr. Lamichhane’s desire for Nepal and the U.S. to work together to help improve living conditions for the poor.
When a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, killing over 8,000 people, Dr. Lamichhane collected donations in Texas to help out his home nation, said Kati Stoddard, a friend of Dr. Lamichhane.
While Dr. Lamichhane was in Texas, he and his brother, Krishna Lamichhane, started a school to teach Nepalese children the language and culture of their home country, and American children math and science.
Dr. Lamichhane had already started planning for a similar school in Columbia, according to his friends Panday and Pokharel.
“(He) was the most positive, optimistic and giving person,” wrote Stoddard in an email. “It can be easy to slip into negativity when you’re overworked or stressed, but I don’t think I ever saw Kiran stressed or negative.”
In 2013, Dr. Lamichhane started at ABC Laboratories in Columbia.
“Kiran was the first person I went to when I didn’t understand something at the labs,” said Andrew Clifton, a colleague. “He always wanted to share his knowledge.”
A week before Dr. Lamichhane’s death, Pokharel and his wife hosted a baby shower for Kiran and his wife, Raji. Dr. Lamichhane and his wife were introduced in Nepal, and have one 4-year-old son. Raji Lamichhane is expecting another child in August.
Raji Lamichhane did not attend the vigil, but friends had notebooks for attendees to write messages to her.
Ralph Ringer, 56, of Fulton was charged with involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash. Several of Dr. Lamichhane’s friends attended a Thursday arraignment for Ringer.
“Kiran symbolized kindness and happiness,” said Ananta Khanal, the master of the candlelight ceremony.
“He could light up a room with just his presence.”
Supervising editor is Blake Nelson.