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Friends, Family Gather To Celebrate Life Of Murdered NSU Professor

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Tiffany Maher. [NSU] Tiffany Maher. [NSU]
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma -

Students, friends and colleagues Thursday remembered a Northeastern State University professor who was found murdered inside her home nearly two weeks ago.

The memorial service for Professor Tiffany Maher was held at the Performing Arts Center on the Tahlequah campus.

Tiffany Maher's mother wanted the day to be a celebration of her life. She said Tiffany would want everyone to keep moving and continue to be on the sunny side of life.

At 38 years old, Tiffany Maher impacted the lives of so many people.

"She touched a lot of people, so I knew there would be a big turnout for her," said former colleague Tina Medlock.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Northeastern State University chemistry professor was found dead in her Tahlequah home. Her missing car was found a few days later at a Tulsa apartment complex, after a News On 6 viewer saw our story and called police.

6/4/2013 Related Story: OSBI Identifies NSU Professor Found Murdered In Tahlequah Home

Investigators have not released the cause of her death, but friends at the memorial service said they didn't want to focus on how she died, but instead how she lived.

"She was a great lady. She was a friend," Medlock said. "She was a professor and somebody you could talk to. Also, she was just really sweet to be around."

Tiffany's colleagues knew her as a scientist. In her four years at NSU, she started a tutoring program and was recently given the university's highest faculty honor: the Circle of Excellence Award.

"There's no person who has done more to help our students learn science and math than Tiffany, and I was so thrilled when she won. It was very much deserved," said fellow professor Mark Paulissen.

Some of Tiffany's former classmates came to honor their sweet friend.

One lab mate said she was a great listener and had one heck of a singing voice.

6/3/2013 Related Story: Viewer Tip Leads Police To Murdered Tahlequah Woman's Car In Tulsa

"She was so fearless. She did so many things in this community. She liked to karaoke. She liked to knit. She'd go to drumming circles. She did monologues here at the university," said Amy Aldridge Sanford.

Although she's known for a lot, there's one thing that stands out in everyone's mind: her trademark laugh.

"You couldn't mistake it. When she laughed, the whole building rattled," Paulissen said. "It was a loud, joyous laugh that we will really miss in the science building and throughout the entire campus."

Tiffany's brother said he hopes Thursday's service will lighten the heavy hearts that friends are feeling.

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