Friends memorialize a beloved student who passed away Oct. 5.
The Temple community has lost one of its star students.
James Michael Krasley, a 19-year-old sophomore from Bethlehem, Pa., passed away Oct. 5.
Krasley, who was born in the neighboring city of Allentown, grew up in Bethlehem and graduated from Liberty High School, where he played on the football team and in the orchestra. At Temple, he was a member of the Toast Masters and the Outdoor Club.
Known for his humor and smile, Krasley did not pass without making hundreds of friends and brightening thousands of days.
“He’s had some hard times in his life, but he’s never really shown it,” senior biology major Michael Qaquish said. “He was always known as ‘that funny guy’ and knew how to make everyone have a good time. He was just a great guy, and it’s a loss for everyone.”
Qaquish recalled meeting Krasley six years ago at Dorney Park, a popular hang out in addition to Musikfest and other Lehigh Valley events for Krasley and his friends throughout high school.
“We were always at Dorney Park running around, screaming and yelling and interpretive dancing just to make everyone laugh,” criminal justice and history major Rudy Mendez, a senior at DeSales University, said. “Whatever we used to do, no matter how simple or stupid, it was a good time. He was the only friend I knew who could make me laugh when I didn’t think I could.”
Known for his passion for academics as well as his sense of humor, Krasley’s sole activity on Facebook is listed as, “long walks on the beach with my T-89 calculator.”
He was an honors student both in high school and at Temple.
Ruth Ost, director of Temple’s Honors Program, remembers him fondly.
“He was an excellent student,” Ost said. “He was tremendously successful and a top-quality person. An upbeat, caring, funny, fun person but also a very dedicated student. A nice hybrid quality.”
Qaquish said Krasley was largely interested in science and was leaning toward a double major in chemistry and physics.
“Education was always the biggest thing for him,” Qaquish said. “Using your full potential via education to help the world. He wanted to find a cure for something to help the world. That’s all he wanted to do was help the world.”
Bobby Breslin, a sophomore business management major at Bloomsburg University, said it took only a few hours for the Facebook memorial group he created to exceed 1,000 members. The group, “R.I.P. Jimmy Krasley,” now has nearly 2,000 members.
“He lived life to the fullest,” Breslin said. “And I have learned to do the same from him and to always be happy.”
Breslin and Andrew Krauss, a freshman speech pathology major at Bloomsburg, have been selling wristbands labeled “Jimmy 10/05/09 Just Keep Smiling.”
“No matter where, no matter what time it was or how bad his day had been, Jimmy was always smiling,” Breslin said.
Proceeds from the wristband sales will go toward a scholarship fund at Krasley’s alma mater in Bethlehem. They have raised approximately $2,000 so far.
In the meantime, mourners continue to share stories with each other, remembering Krasley’s genuineness and spirit.
Breslin recounted a time Krasley visited him at school and Breslin, while walking back to his dorm to meet Krasley, noticed Krasley’s car has been towed.
“I was so scared to tell him because we had been having a great time,” Breslin said. “I finally mustered up the courage to tell him … and he just laughed and told me it made for a better story.”
Krauss recalled meeting Krasley when the two were children, growing up in the Lehigh Valley.
“He was such an awesome person,” Krauss said. “He was always doing the same type of things throughout his life. He was making cherry bombs when he was a kid. He was always happy and making other people happy with him.”
Mendez said Krasley never let anything that happened to him get his spirits down, adding that Krasley “always found the silver lining.”
“He was one of those really rare types of people who could just brighten up a room by walking into [it] with his silly grin, even if you were having the worst day of your life,” Breslin said.
Ost said she feels “a huge life force is gone.”
“I want everyone to gather that ‘Jimmy energy’ and spread it around, doing good works with that energy,” she said.
Those of Liberty High School remember Krasley as their class speaker, the one who helped them close a chapter with his words – and humor – and recognize the change each of them had produced in their short lives.
“We adjust. We adapt to our surroundings or make our surroundings adapt to us. Either way, we have produced change,” Krasley told his high school Class of 2008 at graduation. “We are the sum of our experiences. We are nothing more and nothing less than the product of the changes that we have made.”
Kathryn A. López can be reached at email@example.com.
Those interested in purchasing wristbands should contact Krauss or Breslin via the Facebook group for which they are the administrators. Those interested in making donations may do so in his name to Liberty High School Scholarship Fund via Downing Funeral Home, Inc., at 1002 W. Broad St., Bethlehem, PA 18018.