What Nick Meant to others:
(randomly selected from hundreds of cards, letters and emails)
"What immediately drew me to him was his smile and the aura that made it seem like he was always having fun. Nick, no matter where he was or whom he was with, he glowed from the simple thrill of enjoying life. The most unique part of this gift was that he always wanted to share this joy with all those he cared about and all those he came across. The essence of his spirit, as it can best be described, was that he could never be happier than the saddest one of us. But true to his strengths, rather than allow himself to be lowered to a less happy state, he had the uncanny ability to always bring us up. Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things. Nick may have become my good friend because he was happy, loyal, tough, handsome, smart, athletic, generous and funny. But, he is my best friend in the world because of the everyday life experiences we shared. Nick shaped so much of who I am, and he will be a part of me forever."
Bryce Albin – excerpts from church service 08.13.11
"Nick was so happy all the time. Most people have a handful of great friends and then a more extended network of acquaintances. Nick, on the other hand, seemed only to have an extended network of great friends. Nick was always the best friend anyone could ask for because he cared so genuinely about you and, as a consequence, was absolutely, fiercely loyal. Nick was never afraid of anyone or anything. Period. Half the time, I think he picked out the other team’s biggest guy on the soccer team before the game even started and made up his mind that he was going to take him down with a good hard tackle first chance he got. Just to set the tone and let everyone know that he might not have the size on that guy, but he had more heart and he could shut him down.
Nick managed to maintain a balance, did great in school and even earned a scholarship. This balance between being such a fun guy and, at the same time, a smart, hard worker, just made me and everyone else respect him more. He became a leader at Wake Forest. He did the right thing, and everyone knew it, and I think if you ask any of his close friends, we actually looked up to him every day.
Nick was my best friend; he will always be a guide for the kind of guy I’d like to be. Nick will always be a part of me and all of us here. I’ve lost a brother, plain and simple, and I’ll miss him every single day for the rest of my life. He was perfect, and we should accept nothing less of ourselves."
Boone Dupree – excerpts from church service 08.13.11
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Nick is his smile. Nick had an uncanny ability to focus on positives of a situation no matter how bleak its initial outlook. An attitude like Nick’s is the result of pure, uncompromising happiness, and to say it was contagious is a dramatic understatement. Whenever I think of Nick, loyalty and dedication as a friend comes to mind. He was the type of guy who was everybody’s best friend. He gave everyone his 100 percent. Dedication to his friends – he gave himself wholly without any expectation of a payback. I have never met somebody who loved his or her family more than Nick. Nick will live on forever.
He was the unanimous choice to be DKE President for our class and won “most-missed brother” by a landslide. He was the most popular kid in our fraternity and didn’t have a single enemy at Wake Forest.
Nick was the type of guy you wanted to start a business with; the type of guy you wanted to have as the best man at your wedding; the type of guy you wanted your sister to marry. Sure, he knew how to have a good time, but he was also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He knew when it was time to have fun and when it was time to buckle down and get to work. He was an absolute prince of a man. Please know that I will do my best to live my life in a way that would make him proud. He will be in my heart forever."
Fred Wightman – DKE Brother
"He had this gift where he could make you feel like you had known him for years after the first time you hung out with him. I could tell right away what a special person he was. I could always count on him. If you asked any of Nick’s friends who their most dependable friend was, Nick would be the answer 100 times out of 100. I think reliability and trustworthiness are the two most important qualities a friend can have, and Nick exemplified these two traits better than any friend I’ve ever had. Nick just made my life better in every way imaginable. I’m a better person for having known him, and his infectious joy and warmth will stay with me for the rest of my life."
Joey Binns – Wake Forest friend and post-college roommate
"Nick changed my life forever. I think God crossed Nick’s and my path for a reason. I wanted an intelligent, kind, caring and complete person by my side, like himself. Even though he was a year younger than me, he made such an impression on me during that summer vacation in Greece and Italy, that he turned my world upside down, for the better. I never saw him again; I owe him so much. Letting you know how many lives your son and brother touched and changed. Nick is a shining example of an integral, outstanding and exceptional human being. Nick’s death only comes to reaffirm that he was not an ordinary or average individual. A person capable of giving his own life for a friend is an angel, and that is the only reason I can think of, of why he was taken away from us so soon."
Javiera Huneeus – friend
"Nick is and always will be someone that I both fondly remember and make references to when I speak to the players about what I am looking for in a player. He always put all of his effort into all that he did, and his charisma was as much a part of both his and our success as his playing ability. The state championship of ‘06 was a great result for us all, and we never would have had that without Nick who was All State that year. The world has lost a great young man and a true hero as well."
Scott Snyder – Westminster Soccer Coach
"Nick was the leader and the heart of this special band of brothers who had done so much together with Nick’s guidance. His kindness and courage to lead set him apart from others."
Michael Steege – father of Sebestain and Raphael, DKE brothers
"He was, in my opinion, balanced more than anyone else. He knew what to do, how to do it and always did it with that contagious smile. He was a real presence, in the lives of his classmates, his fraternity brothers, and even new Wake students. A gift that allowed for so much joy and excitement wherever he went. Those around him followed his smile and charisma when with him. He will be missed every day by so many people."
Molly Hentz – friend
"The past year, I have had the privilege of working with Nick, and I am sure I don’t need to tell you what a wonderful young man your son was. However, I will share with you the impact he had on me and others who interacted with him each day. Nick taught all of us what a team player means by his quiet demeanor and coy smile. He became approachable to all and lent his ear to anyone who needed help or just someone to listen. He demonstrated what it means to take things in stride, to shrug them off and know what is truly important in life. He taught us how to have a kind word for everyone, to take the day as it comes and never complain. His virtues raised the bar for all of us and for me personally. God sent him into my life as a bearer of peace and gentleness of heart. I pray for Nick every day, and I can truly tell you that there are many souls I pray for but none of them give me a sense of inner joy that I feel when I lift your son up in prayer."
Carmela – CIT
"His Wake Forest years and his relatively short time as an alumnus were important to all who knew and admired him. We will indeed miss him."
Nathan O. Hatch – President, Wake Forest University
"Many others at CIT have told me how much they respected and admired Nicholas. He was known by everyone he met here as an outstanding young man who demonstrated all of the fine qualities of honor, dedication, purpose and respect."
John A. Thain – Chairman and CEO, CIT
"His positive and gritty attitude always made me smile. He played the game (baseball) in a selfless manner and lived life the same way. He left this life putting someone else ahead of himself."
Ron Inman – baseball coach, family friend
"I sensed a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. That was absolutely the first thing I noticed about Nick; no matter what the occasion, or situation, everyone just wanted to be around him. The selfless president of the fraternity well-studied, successful finance major. Nick was someone I would always seek out. Nick was loved. It is a loss to anyone who has ever had the fortune to make a connection with Nick. Each person has a unique relationship with Nick, one that no one else will completely understand except for that person."
Michael Massad – DKE brother
"Exceptional student leader. He inspired confidence, and we admired his resolve to lead his brothers toward renewing their ideals. One could depend upon Nick. His promise was his bond."
Kenneth A. Zick – Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Wake Forest
"Nick was the most courageous, vivacious, generous and genuine person I have ever had the privilege to know. Just exuded this energy that was infectious to all the people around him. I just couldn’t be around him without smiling and laughing. He was fiercely loyal."
Casey Woodward – friend
"Has meant the world to me over the past few years. I honestly don’t know where I would be without him. Truly revolutionized my life. A testament to him being the leader of our group and making sure we were always keeping up with each other. We are all much better people for knowing him."
Rishav Kohli – friend
"I never coached a true hero, except for Nick, who was a true hero. It was an honor to have coached Nick as a 12-year-old young man at NYO. Every year, I have a motto for The Titans that we scream before taking the baseball field. Usually, something motivating. Next year we will simply scream “NICK!!"
Randy Rhino – NYO baseball All-Star coach
"Nicholas was a very special person. He will be missed by all. Nicholas was a shining light."
Brian Balocki, Fredfrica Thames, Maryellen Berry – Trinity School teachers
"He exemplified leadership that his brothers admired and respected. It was exemplified by the turnout by the Dekes at Nick’s visitation and memorial service."
Allen H. Patterson, Jr. – Executive Director Wake Forest University
"He was a leader and a fierce friend to all around him. Nick was, and will always be, everyone’s hero and friend. And yet, he never wanted the spotlight."
Alexander G. Gray – friend
"I’ll always remember his smile, his kindness and his fun-loving spirit. He was an extraordinary young man, and we are privileged to have had him in our life."
Williams Family – parents of long-time friend
"Always remember his enthusiasm for life and his selfless spirit."
Katie Long – Westminster Schools Director of Alumni Relations
"Impact of his many contributions to Westminster and Wake Forest, a multitude of friendships. He is a hero."
Phil & Francine Teaque – parents of long-time friend
"Somebody I looked up to at Wake, a great friend and mentor. Continue to have a great influence on the world. A bull-like attitude. With his same constant smile and inviting hug."
Peter Dulany – DKE brother
"Nick truly did have the ability to make you feel as if you had known him for many years. The way in which his friends all came to Atlanta to remember him and to honor him is a testament to how much he is loved."
Julia Reynolds – mother of Maggie
"Over the years, he became as dear to me as my own. Nicholas was the best that life has to offer. I will miss him so much."
Dr. Michael Papciak – Nicholas’ physician
"When Nick was president of the fraternity, his warm soul and loving personality will always be in my heart."
Hana Pantuso – friend
"Had a great work ethic and was always the consummate professional. Liked and respected by all."
William Douglas – CIT
"He was a true leader. He touched the lives of the faculty and students and left his mark on the Business School."
Steve Reinemund – Dean, Wake Forest University, Schools of Business
"He was a great leader and a wonderful friend. He embodied the DKE model; a gentleman, a scholar and a jolly-good fellow."
Raphael Steege – DKE brother
"We have been inspired by his infectious spirit and courageous leadership. He was deeply loved and respected by all of his brothers."
Doug Lanpher – Executive Director, Delta Kappa Epsilon
"A remarkable display of love and respect from Nick’s friends at the visitation/memorial service. For someone of such a young age, he had a huge impact on so many lives. In Nick’s case, he touched so many and his positive attitude will provide inspiration for everyone he knew."
J Brad Mcilwain – Regional Director of Development, Wake Forest University
"The friendships I had with many of the Westminster Soccer Players were all thanks to Nick, my best friend and mentor. You will never truly know how large and diverse a set of people is grieving this loss. Nick’s touch reached an enormous network of people, all of whom have you in their thoughts and their prayers."
Michael Saadine – friend
"Nick had a smile that could light up a room. I’ll never forget him. I’m glad to have known him as long as I did. From the beginning of our friendship, I always valued Nick on an entirely different level than myself. Nick was always an angel and as I can only believe that he was taken from us early because we didn’t deserve to keep him here. Wherever he is now, Nick must be there for a purpose. I cannot imagine that his work here is done."
"I was honored to have coached Nick when he was an 11-year-old All-Star at NYO. Nick was a tremendous young man and obliviously grew up to be an outstanding adult. Nick passed away a hero, and I will keep praying for you and your family. God bless and may Nick rest in peace."
Greg Smith – NYO coach
"I knew Nick from WF and the DKE fraternity. I shared many memories with him through college. He touched everyone who met him. I cannot express how much he will be missed. His spirit, warmth and humor will forever live on."
I have noble qualities and love to achieve; and my best strength is easy to believe
People say I am admired for my courage, and strength of ability
But all I ever wanted was to help you and just be me
When I get involved and pursue the best, I want you to be part of my quest.
With my Italian blood and being New York and Southern bred, I was born with the desire to lead and be led.
I loved soccer, technology and business as well, but whenever you needed help I
was there to pick you up whenever you fell.
I was a soccer state champion, a financial analyst and a Catholic Church member too,
But remember the most important person to me was always you.
My parents and sister were my family, I loved and respected them as they made a man of me.
Not many people know I was known as the “Hoover”, but baseball before soccer was what gave me the chance to be a people mover.
As I left Westminster to go to Wake Forest U., my fraternity became a part of my family too.
When you help others in your life to be able to succeed, deep down inside it was my
I went for my last swim, to save my buddy in need, but I want everyone to remember I planted a seed …
Everyone in life should be so lucky as me, I do not consider myself a hero, just a
Friend for Thee.
Coach Billy Viger
2006 State Soccer Champions
I wrote this for you NICK, a former player and friend
I loved you like a SON and that will NEVER end.