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The Wichita Eagle
By: Dan Voorhis

Accidental death of Haysville teen spurs memories


On Aug. 8, 17-year-old Nisha Bohannan fell off the trunk of a slow-moving car at a gathering of friends on 29th North. She landed on the back of her head.

No alcohol was involved, say friends. It was more a matter of teenage thoughtlessness.

She died in the hospital Aug. 11 when her brain shut down. She is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, south of Haysville.

"God has his reasons," said her father, Rod Bohannan, his voice breaking, his head down. "But why now? She had so much life to live. You're not supposed to bury your kids."

Nisha, short for Nishelle, was an ordinary young woman in most ways. She had a B average at Campus High School. She ran track, played freshman basketball and served as secretary of the sophomore class.

She cooked and cleaned for her family in exchange for help with her car payment. She listened to her father. She took a job as a day-care worker at the YMCA's South Branch because she liked children. She danced at InCahoots on Thursdays and cruised South Seneca on weekends.

What made Nisha remarkable was her talent for friendship.

She made friends easily and worked to keep them. Her bedroom is filled with photographs of her with different sets of buddies, hugging or playing.

Friends lined the halls during her time in the hospital; 750 came to the funeral. Flowers keep appearing on her grave.

"She always listened when I called at 2 o'clock in the morning if I had problems with my boyfriend," recalled best friend Rachel Rumsey.

She and another best friend, Melanie Wild, have visited the Bohannans' house nearly every day since Nisha's death.

"We spend a lot of time just sitting in her room," Rumsey said.

A friend set up a Web site dedicated to Nisha at http:// members.tripod.com/dalenray /nisha.html. Within two weeks, it had been visited 600 times.

Here are some of the tributes and expressions of grief in letters and on the Web site:

"I keep asking myself, why you? You were the life of every classroom, of every party, of every day. Nisha, you were always smiling. No one could be upset around you. You wouldn't allow it."

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"Sitting in that church last Thursday at her funeral I experienced something that I won't EVER forget. During one of the tear-jerking songs I looked up into the lights of the church, and I swore I heard her voice say, 'We are even now, Aaron' and gave me that Nisha giggle of hers. That was so calming and very relieving."

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"I just wanted to tell you all to continue to be strong, and you will make it. Don't try anything stupid like suicide either because you all know that's not what she would want. Keep your head high. Watch out for me up there Nisha."

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"When I found out, I didn't want to believe it. My hands started shaking, and I didn't cry until about three hours later."

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"I remember the last time I talked to Nisha. It was the night everything happened. I called her to see what she was doing. And she was talking to her friends while I was talking to mine, and she got mad because I called her and was ignoring her. ... I got mad and said, 'Goodbye Nisha,' and hung up. I never knew that that would be the last time I would ever talk to her. The most I remember about Nisha is how nice she was to me, and when we would go to InCahoots, she would always run and give me long hugs and tell me she 'LUFFED' me. I just want Nisha to know I'm very sorry for what I did."

oo o

"I admit I had a crush on her, but who couldn't, especially after I met her at InCahoots. She was amazing, and now I know why. She had this smile that just made your day seem a million times better. Anyone that knew her knows what I mean."

Even those of us who never met you will miss you, Nisha.


The Haysville Times
By: Colleen Smith

The Loss Of A Friend Means The Loss Of A Smile


“The bad thing about experiences is it teaches you the stuff you don't want to know…,” Nisha. This was a quote Nisha used to help her friends when they were down. Unfortunately this quote became reality for most of them when Nisha died on August 11, 2000 after an accident.

A friend, a confidant, a daughter, a sister, an athlete, a teacher and a daycare worker are just a few words that friends and family used to describe the late Nishelle Bohannan, or “Nisha,” as her friends and family called her.

Nisha had goals and priorities in her life but the main priority she had was to have her friends, her family and to make others smile.

“She never threw away any of her friends,” Rod Bohannan, Nisha’s father said. “They would be gone for six months and then all of a sudden they would pop back up and spend the night.”

Nisha worked at the YMCA as a daycare worker, went to school and helped out around the house. “She did a lot of adult things that she didn't have to do,” said older brother Nate Bohannan. Nisha would always help out around the house doing laundry and other household chores to help pay her car payment.

Friends will never forget the smile that brightened their days and made them feel better, and the giggle that made them laugh when they needed to.

“She always had something to say to make things better,” said Ashley Luney, friend. “She had a unique giggle.”

Friends counted on Nisha to be there for them when no one else was, including friend Dalen Rosiere. “She became my little buddy…one of my best friends, when I broke up with Shelly, I talked to Nisha and there were no worries,” said Rosiere. “She told me, ‘The bad thing about experiences is that it teaches you the stuff you don't want to know…,'”

According to her father Nisha was always positive. “She didn't have a worry, she was always positive and thankful,” said Rod. “She was mine and Nate’s inspiration.”

Jessie Barrett friend, describes Nisha as a picture girl, “I remember before I moved to Kansas City, I was really scared and worried that I would never see my friends, so Nisha decided that she and Chelsea Mitchell would make me a poster for my wall with lot’s of pictures of my friends on it. She told me then I could see them whenever I wanted to. It’s still hanging on my wall.”

Nisha known to her friends as the picture freak took pictures of everything, Barrett recalls a time that she and Nisha were over at another friend Shelly’s house and their was a funny incident involving Shelly’s dog. Nisha had to run to Dillons and get a disposable camera. Her father also recalls that Nisha always had to have her film developed.

Everyone agrees that the one thing they miss about Nisha is her beautiful smile and her ability to make others smile.

“She always had a smile on her face,” said Rod. He is currently working on a monument to put oh the grave-site of Nisha and a part of it says, “We’re going to miss your smile, your smile will be forever missed, you didn’t go alone a part of us went with you…”

It was her smile and her ‘yes’ face that made her so approachable her friends and family agreed.

Nisha is described as the type of person to be your friend, no matter what you looked like, where you came from or even who you were, as long as you were willing to put into the friendship what she did.

Although losing Nisha has been devastating to her friends and family it has also taught many of them lifelong lessons.

“I guess people think more about situations now,” said Luney. “I think it (losing Nisha) was a wake-up call that teens aren’t immortal—we can be brought down.”

“I learned to tell people that you love them you never know how much time you have left,” said Barrett. “You should show people your good side and make them smile like she did.”

Rod said, “Nisha had everything going for her and know it’s gone to soon. We’re all very proud of her, she did well in school, stayed out of trouble, had a good job, good friends and she was proud of what she was doing.”

Nate describes his sister as being endlessly happy and having an endless amount of friends. He comments that what people should learn from the loss of his sister is to be more careful of your surroundings and who’s involved. He says friends come over and stop by; they go into her room and they just sit there.

“She was the only person I could stand to be around when I didn’t want to be around anyone else, I could just sit there and talk to her,” said Nate.

Both Nate and her father agree that people were really proud of her, people admired her and people liked being around her.

Rosiere made a website dedicated to Nisha shortly after she passed away. On this website friends and family share memories or just tell people how they are feeling. The site has had over 1600 hits from friends, family and people who didn’t even know her.

“I felt that the people that knew her needed a place to go and leave their memories and a place for people who didn’t know her to go and realize what she was like,” said Rosiere. “It’s just to help people out.”

Memories are all that remain of Nisha but that’s what seems to be holding friends and family together and will continue to hold them together.

A memorial has been established at the YMCA Child Development Center. If you would like to send a donation in care of Nisha please send it to the YMCA South Branch CDC at 3405 S. Meridian, Wichita, Ks 67217.

If you would like to visit the Nisha website the address is http://members.tripod.com/dalenray/nisha.html

This is a tribute to Nisha from her family and friends also a recollection of memories and quotes to help people better understand the type of person she really was.