West Library staff mourns death of colleague


Kate Wiant with her daughter, Lillian. Photo courtesy of Sheri Parker.

The sound of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” filled the mall outside Eunice and James L. West Library on Monday as students participating in Ram Camp played games, danced and cheered.

But inside the library was a vastly different atmosphere as staff members mourned the loss of colleague Martha “Kate” Wiant.

Wiant, lead reference and instruction librarian, was shot to death at her home in east Fort Worth Sunday afternoon by her husband, Jeremy J. Wiant, who then killed himself, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Wiant leaves behind her 5-year-old daughter, who was in the house at the time of the shooting.

“Kate was very kind, very sweet,” Sheri Parker, library services and assessment manager, said. “She was the type of person who would come early, stay late, help anyone that needed it.”

According to Parker, Wiant was also very artistic.

“She hand drew an adult coloring book that we passed out at the President’s Picnic last year,” Parker said. “It was very intricate and detailed. She was really good.”

Several library staff members left early, upset after hearing the news, Parker said.

One staff member of the skeleton crew that remained declined to comment, saying it would make her “too upset.” She declined to give her name.

Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach addressed Wiant’s death in an email sent to all faculty and staff, and later to all students by Dean of Students Dennis Hall.

“Kate joined our staff in 2010,” Slabach wrote, “and was beloved by faculty, staff and students she worked with across campus. This is a terrible loss for Texas Wesleyan. Our hearts are with her daughter, her family and many friends.”

According to Parker, the library staff is working with the Provost’s office and Dr. Gladys Childs, assistant professor of religion, to plan a memorial service for Wiant on campus.

“We are working out the possibilities for a memorial service,” Childs wrote Monday afternoon in an email.

According to Slabach, counseling is available for employees through the Magellan Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-327-1393. Childs is also available to provide counseling. She can be reached at 817-531-4296 or [email protected].

UPDATE: The memorial for Wiant is to be held on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 12:15pm in the Sanctuary of Poly United Methodist Church, according to an email sent out to students by Dennis H. Hall on Tuesday.