Memorial held for freshman
December 1, 2007
__Ben Gutenberg ’11 died from injuries suffered in crash__
p. Ben Gutenberg ’11 passed away at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center Tuesday afternoon due to injuries sustained in a Nov. 10 car accident near Richmond. The crash also killed fencing coach Pete Conomikes and injured two other students.
p. Gutenberg was in critical condition until his death, though his original prognosis was hopeful, said father Jeff Gutenberg during the memorial service held yesterday.
p. At first, doctors said he was expected to come out of the coma, but days later they discovered that his two front carotid arteries were damaged. The inadequate blood supply caused irreversible damage that ultimately resulted in his death Tuesday.
p. Gutenberg’s parents and the College administration organized the memorial service that took place in the Wren Chapel at 11 a.m. yesterday. His sister Laurel Gutenberg, College President Gene Nichol, fencing team Co-captain Tom Hennig ’08 and father Jeff Gutenberg spoke.
p. Fencing team members also gave a final salute and laid swords at the front of the chapel. Friends and fellow residents of Nicholson Hall also attended.
p. “He was quite optimistic and always enjoyed hanging out with his hall,” hallmate Edward Radue ’11 said. “The best way to describe Ben was that he was an individual. He walked to his own beat, and nothing could deter him from that.”
p. Gutenberg was from Rochester, N.Y. He was a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and his sister read excerpts from Tolkien and Star Trek during his memorial. He also had an interest in history, roommate Jonathan Fallen ’11 said.
p. “Ben was a very smart and funny guy. He was easy to get along with. He was very respectful,” Fallen said. “I was honored to have him as a roommate. He will be missed by me and our whole hall.”
p. Friends and family are still coping with his death.
p. “When I first heard the news, shock and numbness were pretty much what I was feeling,” Radue said. “I knew that he was not doing as well as could be hoped, but it was still hard to hear the tragic news. He will certainly be missed by those who knew him.”
p. A memorial for Conomikes, a coach of 35 years, was held Nov. 16 in the University Center.