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Superior woman recalled as free spirit, lover of life

She used to trade books with friends, turning them on to her favored fantasy and satirical novels. A photographer and artist, she changed her hair colors often. She used piercing gray-blue eyes to appeal to friends to be their best. She was presi...

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Kasey Jones poses for a photo with her bike at her New York City apartment building earlier this year. Jones, who grew up in Superior, died after falling from the fire escape of the building on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)

She used to trade books with friends, turning them on to her favored fantasy and satirical novels. A photographer and artist, she changed her hair colors often. She used piercing gray-blue eyes to appeal to friends to be their best. She was president of her university's last sorority and a veteran tour guide.

Kasey Jones was many things.

By now, the world knows the one-time Superior resident as the 26-year-old woman who fell from a fire escape to her death Tuesday in Manhattan.

Jones' previous social media photos of her feet dangling from her rooftop and police reports of her drinking with friends atop her Inwood neighborhood apartment building have been the fodder for New York City tabloids.

But for those in the Northland who knew her, Jones was something bigger than the cautionary tale being sold to subway goers.

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"She was very much a free spirit, very kind and great-hearted," said Stacie Buchanan, the Superior Public Museums coordinator who was once a tour guide alongside Jones. "She was just a great person."

They'd grown up together in the same University of Wisconsin-Superior neighborhood. They later attended the same now-defunct UWS sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. At work, they used to share a bench on Barker's Island talking about their relationships and other life matters as the wind blew off St. Louis Bay.

Jones grew attached to places, and Buchanan, 28, said her friend found solace and joy on her apartment building rooftop.

"On the roof was where she was comfortable," Buchanan said. "She spent a lot of time up there, specifically doing photography. Her Instagram feed shows that. We all find that comfortable spot we like to go to think."

Superior's Mikhael Moore, 23, called Jones one of his best friends. She had the ability to snap him out of a funk with a motivational plea.

"She was a fun girl who would do anything to help a friend," he said.

Moore was set to fly to New York to visit Jones this coming weekend. He's keeping the plans to help her family clean out Jones' apartment.

"She loved New York," he said. "She loved the life and vibrancy of the place."

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Jones moved to the city last year. She worked as a barista in an independent coffee shop as she also tried to put her studio arts degree to work. Buchanan said Jones moved with her family from Seattle to Superior when she was young. Jones was a flutist in the Superior High School band, twice sitting on her flute and bending it out of shape.

"Somehow they were able to fix it both times," Buchanan said.

News of her death shocked friends, as it proliferated quickly in tabloid stories online that played up the drinking and social media aspects of the story.

Buchanan said it has been hard for people who knew Jones to see the mass media portrayal of their friend.

"There's quite a bit of chatter on Facebook among sorority girls," Buchanan said. "We're all very hurt."

Moore recalled casually trading books with Jones before finding out they got along really well and becoming "close if not best friends after that," he said.

"She was an incredible person who touched everyone around her in a positive way," Moore said. "She taught us how to laugh and love life."

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