Impromptu memorial remembers University senior Craig Macfie


Andrew Macfie, father of Craig Macfie, a bicyclist and University student who died Saturday evening after he was struck by a drunk driver early Friday morning, shares a moment with his wife during their son's memorial held in Lillis Hall Sunday afternoon. Craig, a business student and Scotland native, was 24-years old. (Nate Barrett/Oregon Daily Emerald

Posted by Becky Metrick and Colton Totland on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 pm.

The room was quiet, save a few sniffles and the music playing behind the slideshow. Friends of University senior and Scotland native Craig Macfie watched as photos of his University life played out before their eyes. Laughter erupted from the crowd of nearly 100 as pictures of Craig in his kilt or skiing shirtless popped up on the screen.

This was the scene that unfolded Sunday evening in 211 Lillis, inside the same building that Macfie, a business major, frequently attended classes. The classroom served as an impromptu memorial for the 24-year-old transfer student, who on Saturday evening died following a tragic accident along East 11th Avenue. Around 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning, Macfie had been biking when another University student in a car struck him from behind, causing serious head trauma that ultimately took his life.

His friends put together the memorial in a matter of hours, gathering friends, family and faculty who knew and loved him. Macfie was well-known not only as an Olympic-level skier on the University Alpine Racing team but also for having a fun and charming personality. University senior Peter Hodel, one of his best friends, opened the memorial by talking about Macfie’s incredible life.


Craig Macfie, seen here in a photo found on his Facebook page, was known as an Olympic-level skier who was also on the University Alpine Racing team. This photo was one of many featured in the memorial service slideshow.

“Craig was such a goofy, fun-loving guy,” Hodel said. “He had so many stories with him.” Hodel struggled to stay composed during his speech, and Macfie’s other best friend, University senior RJ Ring, quickly went up to support his friend.

“He had, for the short 24 years that he was here, an awesome life.” Ring said. “He got to go skiing all over the world, and he got to come to America and have an awesome university life.”

As Macfie’s closest friends and family shared anecdotes of ski team adventures, drunken chess games and relaxing days with beers by the pool, he was portrayed as a carefree individual.

“He just loved to have fun,” Ring said, “And not take life too seriously to where he kept living in the moment.”

His former roommate and close friend Garrett Surgeon worked hard to get a good turnout for the memorial. The group, which had originally scheduled to meet in 245 Lillis, needed to change rooms because their original space was too small for the number of people attending.

“I really had no idea,” Surgeon said. “I texted a lot of people, I was all over Facebook and making phone calls. I had no idea there would be this amount of people that showed up.”

Macfie’s father, Andrew Macfie, was surprised and impressed by the number of students he saw at the hospital supporting his son.

“To see the number of students who were there,” he said. “To see the level of support at the hospital was very moving to us.”

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Eyster approached the podium to mention the things he had learned about Macfie in his last couple days, in particular stories of his attempts to bring his Scottish culture to America. Eyster spent several hours with family and friends during the final moments of Craig’s life.

“I found out that he made haggis one day which was a little soupy, I understand,” Eyster said laughing along with his Macfie’s family. “I’ve never had haggis but, uh, from my understanding, it’s not supposed to be soupy.”

Eyster also emphasized that staff members of the University Counseling Center and Paul Shang and others of the Office of the Dean of Students were in attendance at the memorial. These people will be available to grieving friends and family to help with the process.

“I just want students to know that you don’t have to go through this on your own,” Eyster said.

According to Macfie’s father, there will be a memorial service in Edinburgh as well for friends and family back home.

“He did do many things in his 24 years” he said. “He lived life to the fullest.”

  • Sdfs

    My family and I were in town to visit our daughter and attend the football game. Even though we are from out of town, we are shocked and saddened by this tragic accident. We prayed that young Craig would pull thru and were dismayed to learn that he did not. Now that I am back in San Diego, I am hopeful that all university students will encourage each other to never drink and drive. Both parties appear to be university students. One life was lost and another will be impacted forever.
    Students, if you ride at night, please wear light colors, use tail light and headlight and helmet. During the 3 nights of my visit, I was shocked to see how few students had safety lights or wore dark clothing while riding at night in the rain. With the glare coming off the wet streets some riders were almost impossible to see.
    We will continue to pray for the family of Craig, and the family of the driver.

  • Coulda been me

    On this “accident”; police have charged the student who hit Macfie with DUII and assault in the second degree.  It is irresponsible that this article doesn’t mention that this tragedy was caused by drinking and the very poor choice to operate a vehicle while drunk.  THE DRIVER WAS AT FAULT IN THIS SITUATION. Yes, wear bright colors and use lights when you ride your bike, but FAR MORE IMPORTANT is that we refuse, doggedly and absolutely, to let our friends drive drunk.  No one prevented Patrick Compton from driving drunk, if the allegations turn out to be true.  He and those negligent friends are responsible for Macfie’s death.  Let’s keep that in mind.

  • RIP Craig

    Obviously the driver was at fault. The point of this article is to not focus on the negative, but to point out the amazing support and love that Craig created here in Eugene. 

  • No More Drunk Drivers!

    When mentioning the driver who killed him, why would you leave out that he was Patrick Compton, and that Patrick Compton was driving drunk?  We need a spotlight on the dangers of drunk driving (even if just one sentence in an otherwise positive article).  No amount of reflective gear and lights will protect you from a drunk driver driving in the bike lane!

    • Ponta Has Abadi

      But the article focuses on the memorial, the kid who died, and people who loved him. It’s not about the incident.

    • a friend

      Poor Craig, but everyone should give this Patrick Compton kid a chance to seek forgiveness because that is the right thing to do. Everyone makes stupid mistakes, but good people can look beyond and learn that the most wholesome resolution comes from forgiveness. I am frustrated that someone’s very poor choice has taken the life of a great person, but anger won’t bring our beloved friend back. Craig is at peace now, and we should seek the same.

      • No More Drunk Drivers!

        Compton didn’t make a mistake.  He made a choice.  He drank knowing he had to drive home, and he drove home knowing he was drunk.  Everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous, but he WILLINGLY risked the lives of everyone, and Craig, for his own convenience and fun.  Compton is no different from someone who fires a loaded gun into a crowd of people.

        If we ignore how Craig died, we allow it to happen again and again and again.  People need to treat cars as dangerous weapons, not benign toys.  Hiding it and talking about “oh poor Patrick made a mistake,” only encourages reckless behavior by taking the blame off Compton.  He CHOSE to devalue and risk Craig’s life.  He decided that Craig’s life was less important than his own fun and convenience.