Breanne Lee McNitt, 23, died Monday, Oct. 29, 2018

Breanne Lee McNitt, 23, of St. Joseph died Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the scene of a fatal traffic accident.

Breanne was born May 28, 1995, in Lansing to Kevin and Keiko (Timmerman) McNitt.

She attended St. Joseph Public Schools, and spent the majority of her time dancing, playing drums, going to the beach and developing a love and talent for photographing nature. Breanne especially enjoyed annual family trips to the national parks out West.

After graduating, Breanne moved to Tempe, Ariz., to pursue a teaching degree, and thanks to the Arizona State University Outdoors Club embraced activities such as backpacking and rock climbing. While at ASU, she worked at Phoenix Rock Gym, and jumped at the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in New Zealand.

Following graduation in 2017, Breanne worked as an interpretive naturalist at Yosemite National Park in California before embarking on a yearlong adventure in Thailand teaching English on a Fulbright grant.

While falling in love with her students, the people of Thailand in general, the culture and everything Thailand had to offer, she decided to explore more of southeast Asia before returning to the States.

In just a short time, Breanne was able to achieve so many of her goals and deeply connected with people around the world. To hear more about the incredible experiences from Breanne herself, visit

Breanne is survived by her parents; her older sister: Megan of St. Joseph; and grandparents: Hans Timmerman of Germany and Leonie Silversides of Cadillac. However, family, friends, teachers, co-workers and students from all over the world are mourning the sudden loss of this inspiring, free-spirited young woman.

With Breanne’s positive and simple outlook in mind, a celebration of life ceremony will be 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 at Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Funds collected will be distributed to the elephant sanctuary ( that was dear to Breanne’s heart, as well as her school in Thailand (Chiang Saen Witthayakhom School), whose staff and students brought her a great deal of joy over the last year.

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