Tag Archives: death

NYT Magazine Remembers Alex Okrent ’05

Alex Okrent '05

The New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” issue features a stirring tribute to Alex Okrent ’05, the Wesleyan alumnus who collapsed and died last July at the Obama headquarters, where he worked, in Chicago. The cause of death was later determined to be cardiac arrhythmia. Okrent, 29, was a College of Social Studies major at Wes, and his passing inspired expressions of condolences from both candidates that day in July:

As journalist Mark Leibovich tells it, Okrent was on board with the Obama cause well before the senator even announced his candidacy in 2007—he took off a semester off from Wesleyan in 2004 to work on Obama’s Senate campaign. Between organizing a campaign book club and dressing up as Tobias Fünke on Halloween in Iowa, Okrent was “demanding, fun and irreverent,” Leibovich writes. “And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.”

Alex Okrent ’05, Obama Staffer, Dies at Headquarters

Alex Okrent '05

Alex Okrent ’05 passed away Friday morning after collapsing at the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago, where he worked.  The 29-year-old alumnus of the College of Social Studies (CSS) was Paid Media and Polling Regional Director for the 2012 presidential campaign, and has worked for Obama ever since his 2004 senate campaign.

Fox Chicago reported that Okrent had been working out at the gym earlier that morning, as he did every day, before coming into work at the campaign headquarters in the Prudential Center.  A report by the local ABC News affiliate adds that he told a friend he was talking to online that he wasn’t feeling well, collapsing when he went to take an aspirin.  He was treated on-site by paramedics before being taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.  A massive heart attack may have been to blame, Okrent’s family believes.

Former Wes-student and budding NY politician found dead

A quick call-out of thanks to the anonymous tipster who wrote in to inform us about this tragic loss – as a public space of this community, we will honor and remember all those who are and were part of the Wesleyan family.

Last Thursday, Hope Reichbach ’10 (former) was found dead in her Boerum Hill apartment from what authorities believe was an accidental overdose of medication. She was 22 years old, and was a staffer of NY City Council member Steve Levin (D- Brooklyn Heights).

According to the tipster, Hope came here to Wes for her freshman year before transferring out to NYU. Many of her close friends were of our Class of 2010.

The many write-ups about her that have come out in the past few days are clear and unified in the understanding of her legacy: Hope was an inspirational figure, a rising star, and a wholly wonderful individual.

It’s difficult to put a post like this together – there’s absolutely nothing one can say with any meaning or depth, with any skill or legitimacy perhaps, to adequately address a loss of this manner. All that can be said is that we are truly sorry to hear of this, and that we mourn for a life lost far too soon.

Coverage here and here and here.

The Night of the Blogging Dead

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” — Peter Steiner, New Yorker cartoon

Call me cyber-morbid, but few things intrigue me more than death, the Internet, and the increasingly confusing intersection thereof.

Maybe because it’s 2011, which feels more like the future than anything Marty McFly ever visited, and because our identities are increasingly constructed and disseminated and perceived in a wholly online universe (and no, I’m not just talking about Facebook, although yes, I am definitely talking about Facebook), and because I’m a blogger and—well, what will happen to my Last.fm profile and my emails and the forums I’ve posted on and, um, this blog post if I die tomorrow? In short: if a double-decker bus crashes into us, who, if anyone, will manage my “online estate”? To blog by your side: such a heavenly way to not die.

Such is the subject of Rob Walker’s cover story for The New York Times Magazine this week, which, entitled “Cyberspace When You’re Dead,” provides a rich glimpse at what one site has dubbed “The Digital Beyond”: the varied ways in which more and more Americans are taking the time and thought to manage what happens to their online identities—passwords, tweets, blog posts, whatever—after death, appointing “digital executors” and signing up for digital estate-management services like Legacy Locker. And there’s a lot of “digital litter” to be managed.

RIP Tadd Gero ’08

There have been several emails received about the recent passing of Tadd Gero ’08. Tadd passed away Tuesday morning from a resistant strain of pneumonia. His mother shares that memorial services will be held for Tadd in October.

“On October 3 at 1 pm there will be a Memorial for Tadd in Hudson, New York. It’s being held at Time & Space Limited 434 Columbia Street an arts and theatre center that Tadd used to work at, thanks to the generosity of Linda Mossman, who was a second mother to him. Feel free to share any thoughts or memories of Tadd even if it is totally spontaneous and you’re moved to do so when there.”


[EDIT by Sheek, 9/8]

From an all-campus email:

I regret to inform you that Tadd Gero, a recent alum, passed away on August 17. Those of you in the classes of 2010 and 2011 may have known Tadd while he was here, as he graduated in 2008. Tadd graduated as a theater major after transferring from Simon’s Rock College. While on campus he was involved in campus activities including reporting for the Argus. Upon graduation Tadd worked as a reporter for The Independent Newspaper in Hudson New York and continued his involvement with theater.

A memorial for Tadd is planned for October 3rd at 1 pm in Hudson New York at Time & Space Limited 434 Columbia Street. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to TSL, P.O. Box 343, Hudson, NY 2543 in Tadd’s name.

See the Facebook group for updates.

Remembering Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10

johanajustinjinichThe Argus published a sincere and poignant article about Johanna Justin-Jinich over the weekend.

It recounts the thoughts and stories shared at the memorial service held in her honor on May 14th, and creates a detailed portrait of her life and personality through interviews with her close friends.

A multicolored “Pace” flag that she kept in her room in High Rise will be hung in the Red and Black Cafe in her memory.

The Wesleyan Argus: Remembering Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10

Memorial service for Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10

President Roth has announced a memorial service to be held this week for Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10:

I invite you to join with Johanna’s family, friends, and teachers for a celebration of her life and learning at Wesleyan. Johanna’s friends ask that you wear bright colors if you are able to attend.

Written memories or thoughts of Johanna are being collected to be incorporated into Memory Books by Johanna’s friends for her family. If you would like to submit a thought, memory, photo or drawing, please bring it to the service or send it to Dean Marina Melendez by June 7.

The service is apparently open to members of the “Wesleyan University community” only; Wes IDs will be checked at the door. Simulcasts will be arranged should the Chapel fill to capacity.

Date: Thursday, May 14
Time: 7:00 PM; doors open at 6:15 PM
Place: Memorial Chapel

Justin-Jinich ’10 remembered; new details emerge

Johanna Justin-Jinich '10Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10 was remembered in a memorial vigil this afternoon. At least several hundred students, faculty, staff, and community members came together in a giant circle behind Usdan to grieve and mourn Johanna’s death.

Thoughts of Johanna also figured prominently at Middletown’s annual Day of Prayer ceremony:

Residents and officials joined in council chambers in city hall for the annual noontime ceremony. It was initially scheduled outside on the grounds, as is tradition, but was moved inside due to wet weather.

Somber thoughts and entreaties were given for Justin-Jinich, the 21-year-old Wesleyan junior who was shot to death in the Red & Black Café inside Broad Street Books Wednesday.

As campus life begins its slow and painful return to normalcy, new details have continued to emerge following Stephen Morgan’s arraignment today in Middlesex Superior Court.

The New York Times reports that Superior Court Judge Mary-Margaret Burgdorff has raised Morgan’s bail to $15 million and demanded that he surrender his passport should he post bail. The Times reports that Morgan “stood expressionless” in handcuffs and a violet jumpsuit as he was charged with first-degree murder:

As the judge read Mr. Morgan his legal rights in the five-minute arraignment, Mr. Morgan nodded but said nothing. He bowed his head, blinked, but expressed no emotion. He had a beard and a mustache and his hair, balding in the back, was unkempt.

His father and mother, James F. and Maureen Morgan of Marblehead, Mass., were in the courtroom, along with one of their daughters. As Mr. Morgan was led from the room, his father waved and Mr. Morgan raised his head to look at him, appearing to open his mouth but saying nothing.

Several videos of the arraignment are available at WFSB.

The arrest warrant affidavit (available via WFSB) contains extensive details related to Wednesday’s tragedy, including Morgan’s escape from Broad Street Books. James Morgan, the suspect’s father, says his son was “a loner, quiet, not having many friends.”

More details from Morgan’s journal were released. In one entry, he wrote that it was OK to kill Jews and go on a killing spree around campus. Another entry reads, “Kill Johanna. She must Die.” In another, dated about two hours before the murder, he mentions “seeing all of the beautiful and smart people at Wes.”

Morgan is set to appear in court again on May 19.

A shocking account of the scene inside Broad Street Books on Wednesday, taken from the affidavit, is also included in the New York Times article, and can be found after the jump.

Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10

Johanna Justin-Jinich ‘10 was killed by a gunman early this afternoon while working at her job in the Red & Black Cafe.

johana-justinjinichOur deepest condolences to Johanna’s friends and family for this stunning loss. More information is being posted as it comes in. From the Hartford Courant:

Johanna Justin-Jinich, of Fort Collins, Colo., was shot several times at the Red and Black Café inside Broad Street Books. Her assailant, described as thin white man, then fled on foot and remains at large.

[…] “This is a devastating loss for Johanna’s family, friends and for the entire Wesleyan community,” Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth wrote. “Our hearts go out to all those who grieve for Johanna, and we hope all can find comfort in the support of friends, teachers and classmates.”

Wesleyan students had planned a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to remember Justin-Jinich, but in a broadcast email to the Wesleyan community shortly before 7 p.m., officials warned against any such gathering.

Staff from the Office of Behavioral Health are available via the 24 hour on-call system by calling 860-685-2910.

Chase Parr ’10

Chase Parr ’10 was killed in a car crash while traveling with her parents and little sister to a holiday gathering in Wyoming. The Denver Post has more.

We here at Wesleying would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Chase’s friends and family. More information will be posted as it is received.

EDIT: Join this Facebook group for updates

EDIT (2007-12-25 10:00 PM): This Denver Post article has an update on the condition of Chase’s sister, Katy:

She is conscious and doing well, said Parr’s niece, Kathryn McAllister.

It also contains the official account of the accident, as well as details on the John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award, which has been created to “recognize people exemplifying John and Sandy’s commitment to and passion for improving the metro Denver community.” (Justin)

EDIT: President Roth reflects on the tragedy in his blog

EDIT: The Hartford Courant picks up the story.