2 who died in weekend motorcycle crash were each dedicated, compassionate professionals

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Thembalethu Dhliwayo pictured with his wife, Julie. He was a newlywed and longtime nurse, and was killed in a motorcycle crash Sunday – two days before his birthday. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NHA “beloved” victim-witness advocate and a “passionate” nurse were the victims of Sunday’s motorcycle crash on Wellington Road.

Brigit Feeney, 33, a victim/witness advocate with the Office of Victim/Witness Assistance in the New Hampshire Department of Justice, was a passenger on the motorcycle being driven by Thembalethu Dhliwayo, 31, when it crashed about 5:15 a.m. Sunday in the area of 1112 Wellington Road.  Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

“Brigit was a beloved member of our office and the victim advocate community, and her work helping countless victims and families made a lasting impact on our state,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and everyone she has worked with. Brigit will be greatly missed but we will continue to honor her legacy and memory.”

On Tuesday, the day Dhliwayo would have turned 32, family and friends celebrated his life at a gathering at the Bedford nursing home where he was employed.  He worked as a nurse for Genesis Healthcare Corp. for 16 years.   

Dhliwayo was born June 22, 1989, in Zimbabwe. He moved to New Hampshire as a 10-year-old boy, residing in Manchester.  He earned his associate’s degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing and became a registered nurse.

“His life revolved around caring for others,” said Courtney Stone, his sister-in-law. “He was passionate and inspired so many people around him. He worked at Genesis Healthcare Corp. for 16 years and was a highly respected healthcare provider. We will forever miss his contagious laugh and his love to bring family and friends together.”

Brigit Feeney, who served as a victim advocate for the NH Department of Justice, pictured following a 2017 court hearing. File Photo/Carol Robidoux

Feeney’s death has shattered the victim advocacy community, said Lyn Schollett of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the coalition, described Feeney as a “pillar of strength and defender of dignity for so many families who lost loved ones under the worst circumstances in our state.  Losing her leaves a true void both in our hearts and in the victim advocacy community.”

Feeney earned a degree in social work and counseling from Franklin Pierce University.

Her role as a victim/witness advocate was to support and guide victims and witnesses through the judicial process.  Among those she helped was the family of Lizzi Marriot, a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire college student who was raped murdered in 2012.  In that case, Feeney also advocated for a key witness to the killing who testified against Seth Mazzaglia. Mazzaglia is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder. 

Dhliwayo’s funeral service is Thursday at 10 a.m. at Phaneuf Funeral Home and Crematorium, 243 Hanover St. with burial to follow at Pine Grove Cemetery, 765 Brown Ave.  Calling hours are today from 4 to 8 p.m.  

Services for Feeney have yet to be announced.

The motorcycle crash remains under investigation.