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Nina Brekelmans  
Nina Brekelmans passed away tragically in a home fire in Washington, DC on the night of June 3, 2015. She was born on March 6, 1990 in Gahanna, Ohio and had recently graduated from Georgetown University with a Master of Arts in Arabic Studies. Nina completed her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, with a major in Arabic Language and Literature. She was a determined athlete, playing soccer and tennis from an early age. It was at Dartmouth that her love of distance running began, becoming a member of the varsity running team as a sophomore.  Nina was recently awarded a Fulbright fellowship, allowing her to advance her passions further: she planned to return to Jordan in the fall to conduct research on female distance runners and continue her Arabic language studies. She is survived by her parents, Gail and Nico Brekelmans of Shanghai, China, and her brother, Rob, of London, England. A memorial service will be held at the Dahlgren Chapel, Georgetown University, on Wednesday, June 10, at 11 a.m. Georgetown's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies will establish a scholarship fund in Nina's memory to promote the empowerment of women in the Middle East. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to the CCAS, attn: Rania Kiblawi (, mentioning Nina's name.

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Published in The Washington Post on Jun. 7, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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43 entries
July 1, 2015
Dear Gail and Family,
There are no words - I know that - but I am so sorry to hear of Nina's tragic passing. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting her, I know that she must have been an incredibly special and accomplished young woman. It's been a long time since we have talked but I always think of you Gail and the friendship we had back in our high school days. Please know that my entire family is keeping you, Nico and Robby wrapped up in lots of love and warm hugs. Love you and miss you. Patty
Patty Pickard
June 20, 2015
It is with a heavy heart that we heard the news of your daughter passing - we lost a daughter 3 years ago and know that only time can begin to heal your sadness and the emptiness in your heart, your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Dennis & Dorothy White
June 19, 2015
Words can't express the shock we feel after just hearing of your loss. We wish we would have known sooner to offer support to you our friends. So many complimentary news stories and readings on-line of Nina. Such a wonderful job you all did in raising such a fine young lady. God speed to you as we send many thoughts and prayers your way during your time of heeling. Neal & Jennifer Newton
Neal/Jennifer Newton
June 19, 2015
To Nico, Gail and Rob. This breaks my heart for your family. Know that the Lyvers family has you in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you all.
Cindy Lyvers
June 14, 2015
May the God of comfort be with your family during this most difficult time. He is aware of your pain and wants to comfort you.John 5:28
June 12, 2015
Gail, Nico and Rob,

The news of Nina's loss has been heart wrenching and it is impossible to imagine the emotions each of you are feeling. We very much enjoyed the time Nina spent around us as she was growing up in Louisville. Her intellect, drive and wit were off the charts! She, and you, are in our hearts and prayers.
Kathy and Rick Ueltschy
June 11, 2015
I had the pleasure of working with Nina here at Scholarship Advising @ Dartmouth. She was a wonderful student and I was grateful to have met her as well as work with her. This event has been a great loss to all who have come in contact with her as well as family. My heart goes out to all.
Sandy Hobbs
June 11, 2015
I will be donating to Nina's scholarship fund at CCAS.
Tina Z
June 10, 2015
Dear Gail, Nico and Robby,
Our family is so deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will forever cherish the memories of Nina running down the street in Glenmary and watching her grow up. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers during this unimaginable loss.
Becky, Doug and Taylor Inghram
June 10, 2015
May God bless you in this time of unimaginable sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Kerry Kemp
June 10, 2015
Dear members of Nina's family
I am deeply saddened and shocked by Nina's passing. We've lost a wonderful friend and colleague and a great student of Arabic Studies. I came to know Nina in my capacity as the director of the CASA program and I was inspired by her brilliance, energy, and interest in learning about other peoples and cultures. She embodied life, happiness, and hope and gave us all a smile that we will never forget.
Our hearts go out to you and all those who haven been touched by Nina. She will always be in our hearts.
Love and condolences,
Mahmoud Al-Batal, The University of Texas, Austin
June 9, 2015
Nico and Family,

So sorry to hear the news. No one can prepared you for such a loss. My heartfelt condolences for you and your family.
Phyllis Chen
June 9, 2015
Dear Nico, Gail and Robby,
There are no words to relay our sorrow for this devastating loss. The news was beyond belief. We will always remember your beautiful, vibrant daughter and sister from our days as neighbors. Again, we are so, so sorry. Please know that you are in our prayers, Doug, Becky & Taylor Inghram
June 9, 2015
Beste Nico en familie... niet te bevatten ... afscheid te moeten nemen van jullie lieve dochter. Ik wens jullie heel veel sterkte toe om dit grote verxriet te kunnen dragen.
Carine Nabuurs
June 9, 2015
Beste Gail, Nico en Rob
Wat een verschrikkelijk nieuws om dit te horen,ook voor de rest van de familie om dit te moeten meemaken.
Allemaal heel veel sterkte ermee
Ans van tante Truus
Ans derks
June 8, 2015
Nico, Gail and Rob,

We are just heartbroken. Just know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Dan, Bunny, Alex & Lizzy Gardner
June 8, 2015
Nico and Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Luca Ballini
June 8, 2015
Nina is the kind of person who you immediately got the sense of strength, sincerity and compassion from. A friend, a sister, a daughter, a holistically beautiful person. It was an honor to be her roommate this past year. She inspired me and those around her to be better and to continuously try to make a difference in the world. She was boundless in her abilities and loved what she did. I can remember her consistently listening to the news in Arabic improving her already astonishing understanding of the language and culture. She found a way to take what she loved and use it as a tool to help and better understand individuals a world away. She will be remembered forever and her legacy will live on. Prayers go out to her family. We love you Nina.
Wenners Ballard
June 8, 2015
Even as a GU undergrad, I had the pleasure of knowing Nina through her participation in the yoga club. She touched my life, as she has so many others. I will miss her very much!
June 8, 2015
Nina is and was loved by so many people. She will always be in our hearts and prayers.
suzanne klotz
June 8, 2015
Dear Gail and Family: I am so very saddened to hear of your tremendous loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Lisa Zarnow
June 8, 2015
Dear Gail, Nico and Rob,
I wash shocked to see your message on FB today and cannot believe such a tragedy happened to you and the family.
Even though we had not seen in years, thanks to the new communication tools we were able to keep in touch.
Gladys and I express our deepest condolances with this loss and wish you all the strenght in the future.
You'll be in our prayers.
Michiel Hendriksz
June 8, 2015
I am deeply saddened by Nina's sudden passing. She will continue to live in my heart and in the hearts of all people who loved her. She left a lasting impression and touch into the lives of many.
Afaf Al-Khoshman
June 8, 2015
I had the privilege of serving As Nina's guidance counselor at duPont Manual High School. Her kind spirit and smile was always an encouragement to her peers and the adults in the building. She made a positive impact on all she came in contact with, whether in academic classes, clubs, or volunteer service. Her loss leaves a void in the world, but her impact on people will never be forgotten. We will keep your family in our prayers.
Bryan Crady
June 8, 2015
So very sorry to learn of this tragedy. We were looking forward to welcoming Nina back to Jordan at the Fulbright House. God rest her soul, as we say here, and may her family find peace in knowing what a positive impression she left on this side of the world, and no doubt upon everyone she met.You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Kathy Sullivan McNamara
June 8, 2015
Nina was without a doubt one of the most committed and dedicated people on the Middlebury program in Egypt when we studied there together in fall 2010. She is gone far, far too soon.
Libby Kokemoor
June 8, 2015
Dear Mr and Mrs Brekelmans,
My name is Nehad, I was the director of the Middlebury school in Egypt, Alexandria and have been so lucky to know Nina closely.
Nina is indeed inspiring to us all. She was brilliant academically and her passion for Arabic was exceptional. As a person, she was remarkable, with incredible empathy and love for the less priveleged. Her last words to me the last time I saw were'wont you give me a hug' I wish I had given an even bigger hug, but what comes as consolation and pray this for you too, is that her spirit and inspiration will live on. In the Islamic faith, we believe Nina is a martyr and that she will be reunited with her loved ones in heaven, she is special because unlike others God has chosen her.
I will pray for you both, may you find peace and comfort in Nina's legacy, her beautiful smile will live on in your deeds, her goodness.

(My sweetheart Nina, you are in eternal paradise)
All my love and prayers
Nehad Heliel
June 8, 2015
Lieve Nico Gail en Rob,

We zijn heel erg geschrokken door dit vreselijke bericht. Vanuit NL wensen wij jullie heel erg veel sterkte toe! Wouter en Anne Marie
June 8, 2015
My condolences to the Breckelman family. Nina will be dearly missed in the Dartmouth family. GiveARouse!
June 7, 2015
I knew Nina back at Dartmouth. She was super nice and incredibly bright. We talked from time to time and I was always amazed at the things Nina was doing.

Nina was really great at Arabic and her passion was infectious (though, I wish her smarts rubbed off on me too).

I am so... floored that Nina passed away. My absolute sincere condolences.
Alfonso Villegas
June 7, 2015
My sincerest condolences to the Brekelmans Family. May the Hearer of Prayer be of comfort to you at this time. (Psalms 83:18)
June 7, 2015
Dear Gail Cynthia called me to tell me of your tragic loss. Nina was such an Amazing young woman with such a noble calling. So accomplished, you must be very proud. No words except I love you and miss you. Prayers and family.
Muffy Lupe and family
June 7, 2015
I had the pleasure of being in the same class with Nina, and will remember her as an intelligent, passionate soul. My thoughts go out to her family.
Rahul Mitra
June 7, 2015
Gail and Nico,

May you find peace in the legacy of kindness, positivity, and progress Nina left with those lucky enough to know her in this life. We are so sorry for your loss. Know that Nina's soul and spirit will live on through the fruits of her hard work and good deeds.
Sarah Almuhairi
June 7, 2015
Dear Gail, I met you so briefly on graduation day at the Old Angler's Inn when you all approached our son Collin Leibold, also a runner, who finished his undergraduate degree at Georgetown that same day. I fell instantly in love with your daughter and her beautiful spirit and smile. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I am praying for you and your family; for solace, for the strength of memory, for the ground beneath you to become solid once more. May God always hold you in the palm of Her hand. Liz McCloskey
June 7, 2015
Beste Nico, Gail en Rob,
Van harte gecondoleerd met dit onvoorstelbaar verlies van jullie dochter en zus. Wij wensen jullie heel veel sterkte!
Noud & Els Janssen-Cremers
June 7, 2015
Lieve Gail en Nico. Gecondoleerd met het verlies van Nina. In gedachten ben ik dicht bij jullie. Heel veel liefs en sterkte in deze zwarte dagen. Liefs, Leet
Leet Zwepink
June 7, 2015
Gail and Family,
I am so sorry for your incredible loss. Be assured I am lifting you up in prayer to our merciful God.
Sharon Clawson
Sharon Clawson
June 7, 2015
Ongelooflijk, heel veel liefs en sterkte !! Kan me niet voorstellen ... Dan
Dan Ketelaars
June 7, 2015
Gail and Nico,
We are so very sorry and heartbroken for your loss. We will keep you in our prayers.
Dwight and Mitzi Durbin
June 7, 2015
May you find peace in the wonderful legacy Nina has left to our world.
Polley Family
June 7, 2015
So sorry to hear her her death, she appeared to be such an accomplished young person, I am praying for your healing. Judy Williams
June 6, 2015
You are all in my thoughts. I am so sorry for this loss.

Barb Freda
Barb Freda
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