Members of the BC Community Pay Tribute to Patrick Gregorek, MCAS ’19

“I will forever remember Pat as a kind hearted, curious friend who embraced the unfamiliar and spread joy to everyone fortunate enough to find themselves in his company.” –Jack Betcher, MCAS ’19

“I remember I was on the Comm. Ave bus last year one night going who knows where. But Pat got on the bus, too, and he sat next to me and he was telling me all about how he was writing his Authentic Eagles post and how he was nervous for it to be released but how it was nice to be vulnerable. And we talked about vulnerability a lot and how it is so hard. Pat was alway so open and vulnerable and never shied away from talking about the hard and messy parts of life. After having that deep conversation he then randomly asked me if I had ever thought about wanting to be a dog and what it would be like to be a dog. Pat always asked the most random questions. But his curiosity and openness made Pat Pat. He was always so welcoming to others and made you feel so at ease. Pat was a light in my life and he will be so missed.” –Bianca Passero, Lynch ’19

By all accounts, Patrick was a gifted student in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences who was involved in a variety of campus clubs and activities, especially within Campus Ministry. We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Gregorek family and to his many friends on campus during this difficult time.  –-Jack Dunn, Associate Vice President of University Communications, BC ’83

“Pat would crack up laughing when the tenors had to sing one of their weird harmonies, alone, in rehearsal.  His sense of humor was so refreshing and so needed. I will always remember Pat with a big smile on his face, probably thinking of something funny to say.” Clare Flanagan, BC ’18

“I saw Pat on a weekly basis for the past two years. He had the sweetest smile and the most adorable laugh, and each week he shared those gifts with us. For me, LAG rehearsals always brought an opportunity to compliment Pat on his outfits and to see him blush in response. He would graciously respond with a compliment of his own, then we would chat for a few moments. Because of these interactions between friendship and flattery, I especially looked forward to LAG’s special events—where Pat would break out THE black velvet sports coat. To this day I am convinced that no one will ever wear it better or smile more brightly than him.” –Julia Nagle, MCAS ’20

“I had the pleasure of seeing Pat every week in the Liturgy Arts Group office for make-up rehearsals last semester. He was a consistently warm, funny, and cheerful person. LAG was better for having Pat’s voice and his kind spirit in our group. I will miss running into him on campus, when he would always say hi and ask how I was doing, and I will miss getting to hear him sing the tenor line during our rehearsals and performances. He was truly loved and will be deeply missed.” –Keara Hanlon MCAS ’21

“Several friends, including Pat and me, had a class together with Professor Peter Kreeft. Everyone was scared to ask Dr. Kreeft questions, especially at first. Not Pat! In his bold, smiling way, he put up his hand and asked the questions that were on everybody’s mind. I am grateful to him for that, and I deeply miss him.” –John Knowles, BC ’18

“One of my favorite moments with Pat took place right at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. A friend and I were struggling to move the enormous pieces of a giant futon into her dorm room in Vouté at 7 a.m. Pat, who was entirely uninvolved in the situation, appeared seemingly out of nowhere just as we were on the edge of giving up. With a smile, he immediately and wordlessly grabbed one end of the futon and carried all of the pieces in with us. He might have been ten minutes late for breakfast, but it was a classic Pat moment—always showing up in a person’s time of need and instantly sharing their burden. After we finished moving, my friend and I laughed out loud for a few minutes with him about the sheer ridiculousness of the situation he seamlessly strolled into, and she said to me as we walked away, “ I almost forgot to thank Pat for appearing out of thin air and helping because he’s just so gracious that I feel like he does this all the time.” Pat’s grace, kindness, and humor shine through every memory I have of him, and there’s no one else I would rather move a futon at 7 a.m. with than Pat!” –Lexy Bader, BC ’16

“We first met Pat on our trip to Washington D.C. to attend the March for Life. We immediately noticed his incredibly joyful spirit, his smile that lit up every room he entered, and his kind nature. Pat would make conversation with anyone he came across and had a way of empowering, encouraging, and re-energizing those he spoke to. With Pat around, it was impossible not to smile, laugh, and feel loved. He not only reflected God’s love, but he poured God’s love into our hearts. We will never forget Pat’s beautiful soul. May he rest in peace.” –Sofia del Rio & Kristof Fogarasi, BC ’17

“I first met Pat at a rehearsal for the Liturgy Arts Group (LAG) in sometime early in the spring semester of 2016. Right away, I took an instant liking to him and knew that he was someone I wanted to be friends with. He was so eager to learn about LAG. At the time he had long hair down to his shoulders, a look that was something of his trademark during his freshman year. Like many freshman, he had some trouble finding a home at BC during his freshman year, but he soon found one through friends he met in LAG and Sons of St. Patrick.

My most important memories with Pat come from the summer of 2016, in which I stayed in Boston to intern downtown. Pat and I went to Boston Calling together, where Sia was the headline act. A few weeks later Pat invited a few of us over to his house in Seekonk for the Fourth of July weekend. He took us to an amazing Independence Day celebration in Bristol, R.I., on July 3, where we saw what we agreed was the greatest sunset of our lives. The next day we went to his aunt’s lake house and went boating. During the stay, of course, Pat slept on an air mattress while his friends got beds. That’s who he was, always looking out for others.

The following year Pat decided to commute from home to BC. On Thursdays after class he would often come to our room to nap before the Sons of St. Patrick meeting at 6 p.m. I remember walking in and seeing him stretched out on our couch in Stayer, his long legs extending over the edge of the seats.

After graduating, Pat was one of the best about texting and keeping in touch. He always checked in to see how everyone else was doing, even if he himself was stressed about something else. We usually tried to meet up when I was in town. I can’t believe I will never hear his laugh again. It was so resonant and could light up a room. When someone passes there is often a tendency to romanticize the deceased, but I am being completely honest when I say that I never heard him say a malicious word about anyone. He made me laugh harder than anyone. He gave the best hugs. There was never a conversation that he didn’t end by saying, “I love you, brother”. He brought so much life to everyone else around him.” –John Daniell, BC ’17

“I came to know Pat his freshman year when I was a junior. He carried himself with joy and a curiosity. He always asked the most interesting, sometimes quirky questions, but always in genuine earnestness. One of my favorite memories with Pat was when he suddenly wanted to jog a couple of miles to a small donut shop. He and our friend Jon Wing met me on Newton campus where I was an RA, and we jogged/walked a few miles. We got lost along the way, but the entire trek we talked. We talked about movies, life, philosophy, and jokes. I can’t remember the donut, but I do remember us all smiling, sweaty as we sat down at a tiny diner table eating and talking. Pat always had time to talk and would gladly listen attentively, while giving his own thoughts throughout. He was invested in every person he met. Even after I graduated, Pat and I met every now and then, and whenever we did there was never any pressure. It was always a good time. No words could ever fully describe Pat, but when I think of the Pat I came to know and love, I think of a man who was open to everyone, loving, faithful, hilarious, and curious about everything.” –Andrew Craig, STM ’19

“Pat Gregorek, whose last name I can never pronounce, was one of those fateful friends whom you know in your soul will stay with you forever, in the instant you meet them. When we crossed paths in Devlin, he already had the cool confidence of a second-semester freshman, well-established in his rhythm at BC by the time I returned from my semester abroad. Now that I write it, though, I think it was natural charisma that made him stand out, not some earned confidence. It was in his nature to be charming, quick to laugh, undoubtedly quirky, and above all, true to himself.

Pat loved music, loved comedy, and loved activities that many of us would’ve considered wasted time, like listening through Killers albums he already knew by heart on a hillside, or bothering studious friends at the library for hours just trying to get them to crack a smile. If Pat was ever stressed about schoolwork or ‘being too busy,’ like so many of BC’s population, you never knew. He just didn’t live the ‘work hard/play hard’ mantra. A more befitting aphorism for Pat is ‘question everything.’  

Conversations with Pat always began with a question. I could usually tell when he’d already been chewing on it for a matter of days before bringing it up to me. Recalling them now, I’m realizing just how naïve I was, trying to answer some of life’s most characteristically unanswerable conundrums. I usually left hoping my confident drivel was enough to convince him I had the answer, only to find after mulling it over that he’d just blown open my understanding of the world. This is no understatement. Pat was an old soul, a designation I’ve long sought from my own peers and superiors. He didn’t have to work very hard to earn that title because, as I mentioned, it was in his nature, his character, to carry himself with so much wisdom.

One of his greatest fears, I think, was that he wasn’t being authentic at times, wasn’t being honest about who he was. His desire for authenticity rubbed off on me. When Shakespeare’s oft-quoted quip “to thine own self be true” comes to mind, I instinctively associate it with Pat. I will miss him so much. He taught me that seeking one’s authentic self is the truest, the highest mission you could devote your life to.” –Johanna Tomsick, BC ’17

“Pat was absolutely hilarious. When trying to get across the man he was, the first thing I think of is his sense of humor. He would often break the silence in the room when we were all hanging out by saying something to make everyone crack up. Fortunately for anyone lucky enough to spend time with him, his presence never went unnoticed.

As anyone who has ever met him will attest, Pat was unbelievably kind. Pat was ready, at any moment, to brighten up someone’s day either by making them smile or by providing them with loving support. This came second nature to him and was an incredible gift I am fortunate to have received from him on numerous occasions.

I am extremely privileged to have received the opportunity to be his friend, and I am going to cherish the time I spent with him forever.” –Noah Barnett, MCAS ’19

“Patrick took my course on Women and Gender in Islam—and told me from the outset that he knew this class was going to place him outside of his comfort zone as a self-described conservative Catholic who knew absolutely nothing about Islam or women and gender. He needed to fulfill his Cultural Diversity Core requirement and thought this might be an interesting, if challenging, way to do it. He hadn’t really had the opportunity to engage the religious “other” growing up. This class provided the space for doing that, both through the material and, more importantly, through his classmates. Whatever fears or concerns he had, he approached the class with respect and a willingness to listen and think deeply. I think he learned a lot about valuing other perspectives and about himself in that course. It took courage to stick with it. He always brought a smile and personal warmth to class. I think that reflected the values he embodied: loving other people, respecting human dignity, wanting to encourage others, reaching out whenever he saw someone hurting—all of that while he struggled with his own anxiety and fear of not being accepted by his peers. Whatever he was feeling inside, he always brought the sunshine with him. I will miss his gentle presence.” –Natana J. DeLong-Bas, Associate Professor of the Practice, Theology Department & Islamic Civilization and Societies

“I met Pat for the first time when we both joined running club as freshmen. Pat was extremely easy to talk to; he always had a smile on his face and was never afraid to ask anyone on the team how their day was going. Initially, I felt nervous attending practice—worried that my new teammates wouldn’t like me or that I wouldn’t like them. Pat was one of the people that made me feel at home on the team. He was always ready to laugh at my jokes and begin conversations with upperclassmen when I was too scared to do the same.

I had a conversation with Pat at the job fair in Conte Forum our junior year that I think about often. We both found ourselves in the same line waiting to talk to a representative from an economic consulting firm. I immediately felt comforted by the sight of Pat’s familiar face. I could tell he was just as overwhelmed as I was, faced with the prospects of determining our futures. Over the course of our conversation—which ranged from the mundane topic of our economics electives to reflections on our faith—I felt such deep relief that someone else was feeling the same as I was and was willing to talk about it. This conversation was just one example of how willing Pat was to engage and care for his friends.

Pat and I became friends freshman year when we lived in Fitzpatrick together and were in a small Spanish class together. I was immediately drawn to Pat because he was infinitely kind and was always the person to reach out and say hello to others. He always remembered the things that you told him and would check back in about them, which made everyone he was friends with feel important. I also loved that Pat was so outgoing, and he was always the loudest and funniest member of our Spanish class. We all got a lot of laughs when he would jump into all of our class activities with the most enthusiasm. He was the type of person that everyone was drawn to because of his friendly, happy, and genuine demeanor. He was also very religious and had an awesome understanding of his faith. He gave great advice, and listened to people with compassion. We would go to the candlelight masses in St. Joe’s together.

Second semester, Pat and I got really close when we talked about how we both ran cross country in high school. I wanted to join the running club on campus, WeRunBC, but I was too afraid to go alone. Pat offered to bring me to my first practice and start coming with me. I think this is a great example of Pat as a person. He was always willing to go above and beyond for his friends and was the biggest supporter of anything that his friends found important. We went to practice together everyday, and he immediately won the hearts of all of the members of the club. His outgoing personality gave us so much energy and so many laughs on our runs. He immediately became invested in every member of the team, remembering things about them and checking in on them outside of practice.” –Kirsten Morro, vice president of BC Club Running and CSON ’19

“This year, Pat and I both lived in Rubenstein Hall. We always ran into each other in the elevator and chatted about how our senior years were going. It became a running joke that he saw me every time I did laundry on a Friday night, which apparently was quite often. Just two weeks ago, I convinced Pat to start running with us again. He told me he wanted to get back into shape and missed coming to practice. We enjoyed two fun runs together in the following days. I could see Pat was tired, but he smiled and talked the whole time.” –Tina LaRitz, president of BC Club Running and MCAS ’19

“We speak on behalf of our entire team when we say that he was a well-loved teammate who made everyone smile and was quick to offer friendship and encouragement. We have been missing Pat dearly on our runs, and we hope that this reflection helps others to remember Pat as we do, as a great friend and person.” –Morro, LaRitz, and BC Club Running

“Pat ingrained himself very perfectly into [LAG]. … He just loved LAG. LAG is like this special community, we always say, where everyone comes as they are. It’s this very accepting group filled with love and I think it brought him a lot of joy and peace to find a group like that on campus. We were together all four years. … He was so funny. …

He was just so inclusive, it was something indescribable about him that was just so beautiful.” –Molly Smith, president of LAG and CSON ’19

“I think in life, if you’re lucky, you’ll meet some of those people who just really put you at ease, and I’m not quite sure if it was his humor or the intentionality he would bring to a conversation or some combination of a lot of things. But when you’re with Pat, you know Pat was paying attention to you, Pat was caring about you and for you. He was just a really special guy to be around.” -Steve Saville, CSOM ’20

“He gave everything his all. Even in moments of struggle, he was always there for me no matter what. … He was one of the biggest supporters I had as someone with an invisible disability struggling with my own dyslexia. … What I’ll never forget about him is his smile, his laugh, his ability to just exude light, his goals to live out the mission of Christ as best as he could each day. He was just always there to talk, always there to listen, and I hope I did that for him as well. He really was just someone who could make you laugh and make you feel very important. I have a letter from him that he wrote to me after I spoke on retreat about invisible disabilities … and he just wrote me a really beautiful note and basically said, “I know what it’s like to struggle, and thank you for being open about yours.” And I just know that whatever he was going through he always loved his friends, he loved his family, he loved running. … He was just patient and kind and I think he really did light up the groups that I was in with him, he was very important to me and I don’t think I can ever describe what he meant to me and my friend group.” -Joshua Spina-Bett, BC ’18

Featured Image Courtesy of Molly Smith

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The Heights is the independent student newspaper of Boston College.