She posted the picture on Facebook Feb. 1.
A proud grandmother spending time in the park with one of her beloved granddaughters.
When the 50-year-old doctoral student posted the photo, she was doing more than sharing a moment — she was highlighting one of the most important parts of her life.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, she is in the doctoral program, and here she is totally proud and making time for her granddaughter,’” said Kim Strom-Gottfried, a professor in the School of Social Work.
Teresa Ilinitch, a clinical instructor in the UNC School of Social Work, died Feb. 3.
She passed away in her sleep unexpectedly, said Rebecca Brigham, a professor at the School of Social Work.
“The shock of such a beautiful, young, vibrant person in the peak of her career, who was just alive and so excited by the students she was working with, the shock of it has been terrible,” Brigham said.
Ilinitch was viewed as more than just a coworker in the eyes of her colleagues; she was a role model and an empathetic individual always willing to listen.
“She would often refer to herself as the mother of our cohort,” said Todd Jensen, a Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work. “There are three others of us in her cohort, and in a very real way she kind of played that role in terms of being a confidant, someone who is older and wiser who could give us reassurance and an authentic pat on the back.”