In memory, Kevin Coffey

One minute the heart is beating. The next minute it stops, just like that. It’s hard to deal with that fact. It’s so quick, so sudden. It doesn’t register right away. You feel no pain,

One minute the heart is beating. The next minute it stops, just like that. It’s hard to deal with that fact. It’s so quick, so sudden. It doesn’t register right away. You feel no pain, and the silence is deafening. And then the senses get flooded in a sudden rush.

He is Kevin, our Kevin.

He was an international business major. He was a rower. He was an adventurer. He was our walking Wikipedia. But most importantly he was our friend.

On Saturday night, less than eight hours after the news, I’m surrounded by friends. It was a rough day for us all, and the beginning of a long night. But the comfort we had in each other kept us going. Every now and then the wave of pain that came with realizing that he would never come home crashed over someone.

We’ve known each other since last August, when we first stepped foot on Temple grounds as freshmen. Kevin was there too, coming all the way from Kansas to go to school in a city that probably seemed foreign to him.

But it wasn’t. It was just like him, to leave almost randomly to see something new. He biked all over Philadelphia, just because he wanted to. He visited Boston, New York, San Antonio, Washington D.C. and Chicago. And he was on the way to Toronto, just to see something new.

It was an early Sunday morning for everyone. Most of us—guys and girls, all of us friends—slept on the living room floor. Sam Peyros, Kevin’s roommate, couldn’t sleep in his own room. Nobody slept well, and there were times you could hear quiet sobbing.

We spent time talking about the good memories. We laughed, we joked, and we cried. We sit here now outside of Anderson Hall, writing about his life, and how he made us smile.

Kerry McDonough retells the story when Kevin got hit by whipped-cream pie on Amanda Folk’s birthday. We had faked that we would hit Amanda with the pie, but surprised Kevin with it instead.

“It’s not my birthday,” Kerry said, in a terrible imitation of his voice. “It’s not my birthday. Hit her!”

Mike Nitikman, Christine Boegemann and I laugh. A few others smile. We’re sitting on wet grass together. We sit there smiling, but quiet, for a moment.

“Guys, think about the two weeks we’ve been here,” Christa Mercurio said. “And this is the first time it’s raining.”

A few of them remember a party during our freshman year. It was our usual crew out that night. “There were those girls that were checking us out, and he wouldn’t go dance with them,” Mike said while laughing.

“He danced with the pole instead,” cut in Adam Ortlieb.

We used to make fun of him for living in Kansas. It was one of our biggest jokes with him, and he never understood the big deal. About a month into our freshman year, we found a “documentary” on his home state.

 “Really?” Kerry said, mocking Kevin’s voice again. “What is it about?”

Paul Hyer and Kerry are talking about this, rolling on the grass laughing. The rest of us are listening intently, smiles on our faces.

“It was the Wizard of Oz,” yells Amanda, and we all laugh, thinking about that time.

This is the best we can do, take care of each other, tell jokes, and reminisce. It’s comforting, but the pain is still overwhelming.

At times you can see one of us thinking of him, and more than likely Kevin is dancing in that memory. He was a horrible dancer, but took pride in it. Whenever we heard Lady Gaga we would all turn to him to watch his moves. We can smile about it now.

“Stop callin’, stop callin’, I don’ wanna talk anymore, I left my head and my heart on the dance floor…”

We left our hearts with you Kevin,

– 3NE.


  1. I am the mother of a Temple graduate, Michael DiGiovanni (Class of 2009), and I must express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this beloved young man, Kevin Coffey. I did not know of his tragic death until yesterday but I haven’t been the same since I heard all the wonderful things that everyone has had to say about this remarkable young man. I am a worker at the American Red Cross and Kevin Coffey was one of our donors – something his father said his was very proud off – giving blood. But I am writing because I want his family to know that people who never met him have been touched by the story of how Kevin lived such an extraordinary life in such a short time.

    Please pass this message along to his family and fellow classmates to let them know that Kevin will never be forgotten.

    Joan DiGiovanni

  2. I spoke to Kevin’s father, Ray, today and he spoke so fondly of his son and although I have never met Kevin I’m sure he has left a lasting impression on all of his friends and classmates. I heard that many of his classmates from Temple made the trip to Kansas for his Memorial Service, and his family was extremely touched. Mr. Coffey asked me to help coordinate a blood drive in Kevin’s honor and I am in the process of doing along with the help of the staff in our Penn-Jersey region. Please keep the memory of Kevin alive by remembering a young man who gave so much and asked so little in return. I will be volunteering at the blood drive and I hope to meet many of Kevin’s friend and classmates there.

    As the mother of a Temple graduate there will always be a connection between all of us – students, parents, and alumni and by honoring Kevin’s life we will never forget him or his family. Keep Kevin and his family in your hearts and prayers.

    Joan DiGiovanni

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