Friends say UofL Professor's death is tremendous loss to environ - News, Weather & Sports

Friends say UofL Professor's death is tremendous loss to environmental justice

Carol Hanchette (Source: Facebook) Carol Hanchette (Source: Facebook)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Friends of University of Louisville Associate Professor Carol Hanchette described her as a vibrant educator who had no shortage of energy and simply loved life.

Hanchette, 62, an avid hiker, died this week during a hike in the Bighorns of Wyoming. 

She died of hypothermia, according to the coroner in Johnson County. Her body was found on Tuesday morning, after her hiking partner, Richard Cornelius, notified authorities that the two had gotten separated.

Flowers and letters from students line Carol Hanchette's office. They are signs of love and admiration for the University of Louisville educator.

"We were all devastated and having a moment of disbelief," Dr. Maggie Walker, who was mentored by Hanchette, said. "She really died doing something she was so passionate about."

Fellow Louisville hiker and friend Ed Walton was stunned to hear of Hanchette's death. Walton said Hanchette was an extremely skilled hiker.

"I was fortunate to go on a trip with her when we hiked the Inca Trail as a group down in Peru," Walton said. "So she was very experienced."

Walton said Hanchette seemed to do everything right on her last hike, including leaving a note at her campsite for rescue crews.

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"I have no doubt that she was extremely well prepared," Dr. Walker agreed. 

Friends believe extreme and fluctuating temperatures are the only answer to Hanchette's death.

Hanchette, a single mother of two, had an impressive resume as a medical geographer. She was involved with the community in coal ash and asthma research, and with Hope VI, the mapping of displaced residents from the Sheppard Square and Clarksdale housing projects.

"It’s a tremendous loss on the grand scale of doing important environmental justice work and also in the department just a great advocate for women for students, and a very positive presence," Walker said. 

"She just lived life to the fullest," Walton added. "She really went and did a lot of really neat things and she was not afraid of doing anything."

Hanchette, who will also be remembered for being a great cook with a great sense of humor, leaves behind a son and a daughter. Although most of her family lives in North Carolina, a memorial service is also being planned in Louisville.

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