Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let's toast to an amazing life...

As some of you may know, Ben Brown passed away last week. Ben was a good friend of mine many years ago. I have many wonderful memories of Ben even though its been years since we have seen eachother or talked. I met Ben through Key Club, and I got the honor of going to his senior prom with him. It was on that night that I learned what a true gentleman was. Ben was one of the happiest people I've ever met. Everyday he had a smile on his face, and he was ALWAYS making the best of life. He loved life. He loved making other people happy, and he did anything he could to do so. I feel lucky to have known Ben, and I will always remember him. I am determined to remember Ben in all of the positive ways, and I ask that you do too.

What happened to Ben was a tragedy. I've had the hardest time wrapping my head around it, because it doesn't make sense. A letter was written by one of his friends, and its helped me to find peace in all of this. Its something we all should read carefully.

Classmates and friends,

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, our Catholic High Family has suffered a great tragedy in the loss of Ben Brown. I can attest that he had an intense devotion to Catholic High and his family, and I regret that we will never find a replacement for him.

There are a few things I want to address concerning the past few days. First, please do not make any presumptions about Ben’s death based upon the limited information available. Rumors seem to be the most abundant source of information at this time, and unfortunately, it seems as though we will never know the exact truth about what happened to Ben. I would encourage you to pursue this line of thought: at this time, there is more information indicating that Ben’s death was accidental, and not a planned or intentional act. His coworkers have indicated that he sometimes sat on the roof of his office building to enjoy the quiet, and watch the sunrise over the city. Also, he left no behavioral indicators that he was seeking any closure in his life. He was beginning many new projects in his life, and was pursuing them with his typical unparalleled intensity. There is no physical evidence to indicate any otherwise.

Secondly, we can all form hypothetical explanations for what may have happened, but in truth, none really matter. We owe it to Ben and his loved ones to remember him for his incomparable dedication, his compassion for everyone in his life, and his tireless pursuit to better himself and those around him. I ask that you have the courage to promote these memories of Ben in the face of any rumors or falsehoods that may emerge in the future. The best thing we can do to honor Ben’s memory is to carry on where he left off: continue to strive to better ourselves, care for our loved ones, and build the institutions that make our lives better.

That being said, many of you have approached me with questions about memorial scholarships and endowment funds. Ben was the driving force behind the Class of 99 Endowment Scholarship, which was included in the June 2009 Bear Facts. When he first proposed the idea of creating a scholarship, Ben wanted to create something to honor the memory of our former classmate, Jared “Happy” Rachal. We later decided to create a general endowment fund for our entire class, in the event that another classmate would pass away. As Ben explained to us, “we do not want to create a competition between memorial scholarships.” If you choose to make a donation to the Class of 99 Endowment Fund that Ben created, you can choose to do so in his memory. Additional avenues to honor Ben’s memory may materialize in the future, and I encourage you to pursue them as well.

Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Very Respectfully,
Norman V. Ryan, Jr.


Haley said...

Becky I am so sorry for this loss. This is so very sad and tragic. I hope friends and family may have some peace in the days and weeks to come.

Jessica A said...