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30 Days of Remembrance: Alex

"Our beloved Alex is missed every minute of every day. He had a wonderful presence about him. He was tall and thin, handsome, intelligent, had a great smile, had a passion for history, his family and adventure. He loved being a boy scout, fishing, hiking, kayaking, camping, concerts, his dog, and his friends.

Alex was always looking for ways to make money. Even at an early age, about 8 years old, he asked me to help him get some jobs in the neighborhood. I told him we would write a letter and he could deliver it to the neighbors. Well, that’s exactly what he did. He helped one lady clean up her basement and watched another neighbor’s cat. Soon after that he became a paper carrier. A passionate paper carrier, unlike many others. He was so particular about the way he stuffed the inserts into the Sunday paper that he wouldn’t let any of us help him. So, week after week, he stood in the garage, in the cold, stuffing his inserts exactly the way he wanted them to be. I guess it never occurred to him that he could have taught us all how to do it!

He enjoyed school and won awards for academic achievement in reading and writing. He was in the chorus in middle school and sang in a quartet during one of the school’s performances. He absolutely loved social studies because he had a teacher that dressed as characters of the past and made the class fun and exciting. Alex loved learning about the history of the world and spent quite a lot of time trying to get the rest of us to listen to his take on religion and politics.

I remember one day when Alex was in high school, I received a phone call from one of his teachers. She stated that Alex was sitting in the back of history class reading the newspaper. I started to laugh because I knew my son had to be bored to do something like that. I told the teacher he was bored and that he could probably teach the class because he knew so much about history. I’m pretty sure she didn’t like that comment! I also told her I would speak to him about paying more attention in class. I did speak to him to no avail.

He made it through high school and then went off to college. He moved into his first apartment in Buffalo with a couple friends from school. He joined a fraternity, worked at Home Depot, and went to school full time. He studied geography and urban planning. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude. He made the Dean’s list during one semester and even passed his statistics class with flying colors. I remember his grade being in the 90s after struggling all semester. He must have been bored in that class too!

Straight out of college he interviewed for First Niagara Bank and landed a job as an Environmental Risk Analyst making $41,000 to start. A year or so after he started working, First Niagara was sold to KeyBank and Alex was at risk of losing his job. However, he was one of the only employees that KeyBank retained and gave him a raise! I couldn’t be prouder of my son for his accomplishments and the wonderful young man he had become.

In November 2016, Thanksgiving weekend, Alex’s friend asked if he wanted to take a trip to Iceland. He was conflicted because it was the weekend when he would hang out with his family members from Syracuse, and everyone would go out and have fun. He asked me what I thought he should do, and I reassured him that it would probably be a trip of a lifetime. And so, it was. He took beautiful pictures and had a great time. I was so very happy for him to have that experience.

Then, my world as I knew it was over; my precious son was gone. I knew I would never be that mom, friend, or teacher again. Too much had changed. I had to find a new way to live in this world, a way to live without the presence of my son.

The world is without an intelligent young man who had a promising future ahead of him. He is missed every day and loved more than words can express.

Thank you for the opportunity to share Alex’s story because his life was much greater and richer than the facts of his passing."

Mary Pichette

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