A service of remembrance for Portland State University student Nicholas E. Leonetti was held yesterday at the Koinonia House.
Leonetti, who died after falling from a skybridge last Tuesday, was a 22-year-old junior who was described as dedicated, responsible and thoughtful of others. Students, staff and family members came together in the lounge of Campus Ministries to share a message of grief, remembrance and hope.
With community members filling the lounge, only standing room was left for latecomers as the ceremony began. PSU President Daniel Bernstine welcomed attendees with an acknowledgement of the loss the student body experienced and announced the creation of a Nick Leonetti Scholarship and Book Fund.
“The Portland State family is a very special family, and a loss to any member of our community is a loss to all of us,” he said.
Between hymns and readings, ministers Elizabeth Winslea, Christopher Laing and Glenn Rymsza addressed the audience, offering messages of consolation and hope.
Cathy LaTourette, assistant vice president of Human Resources, shared memories of Leonetti’s ability as an employee of the department, and his positive work ethic and compassion. She explained how several of his coworkers found comfort from their grief in the memory of Leonetti’s humor.
Describing her first contact with Leonetti, LaTourette recalled his unique approach to life and his work, illustrating her comments by quoting responses he had written on his resume and job application.
“On his resume, he described one of his job titles as ‘official grunt worker,'” she said.
She recalled his attention to detail and his need for “a job well done,” explaining how within Human Resources he was “the project guy” who could multitask and quickly proved himself a vital member of the department community.
“I miss him,” she said.
After closing prayers and a rendition of the hymn “In the Garden,” attendees were invited to stay and continue their remembrance together.
Donations to the Nick Leonetti Scholarship and Book Fund can be mailed to the Portland State University Foundation, P.O. Box 243, Portland, OR, 97207-0243. Checks can be made payable to PSU Foundation.