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On Sept. 11, many of us suffered a deep loss when we learned that Rick Thorpe ’89 was among the missing at the World Trade Center. Many remember Rick as an impressive Lafayette athlete. He came to play football but later switched sports and captained the lacrosse team. He was one of the quickest studies ever to have joined our team, having picked up the game when he came to Lafayette. By his senior year, Rick had surpassed many who had played the game for far more years.

Others will remember Rick as the life of the party, which he always was. He always had something to say, usually loudly, and always with an ear-to-ear smile on his face. Rick loved to poke fun at others but was never afraid to laugh at himself. His audacity is legend, as are many of his funniest exploits. Rick joined Chi Phi but never limited himself to its ranks. He socialized with other fraternity members, athletes, and students and any sorority member who would give him a minute. He was always willing to befriend someone new and extend his circle of laughter.

Those of us fortunate enough to really “know” Rick knew that he had more to offer than his gregarious personality or his athleticism. He was an individual of substance and character who wanted to give back, not just take from life. He helped Father Tom Hagan start Lafayette’s soup kitchen. Rick could talk and laugh with anyone, whether it was someone concerned about losing their home or their children, or someone who believed they were an intergalactic traveler. Rick also worked with Father Tom’s Hands Together, a Haitian outreach program that is still providing for others who are less fortunate.

After Lafayette, Rick’s caring didn’t change. He joined Big Brother and other philanthropic programs in New York City. He always had time to stop on Manhattan’s streets to speak with a homeless person and give that person a few bucks. He found professional success with the Wall Street firm of Keefe Bruyette & Woods. James Cramer wrote an article about all the remarkable people on Wall Street that were lost-Rick was the centerpiece.

Rick’s memorial service was held on the coast in Mystic, Conn. Several people spoke, including Father Tom who returned from Haiti for the service. He spoke of Rick’s deep spirituality, social conscience, and genuine concern for others, and that “something special” that Rick had, which made such an impact upon all of us and will always make us remember him.

-Craig M. Bonnist ’88
Darien, Conn.

-Greg A. Garbacz ’89
La Jolla, Calif.

Ball Carrier on Wall Street.* The booming voice, competitiveness and self-assurance that helped Eric Thorpe become the star quarterback of his undefeated high school football team in Wilbraham, Mass., served him well on Wall Street. Mr. Thorpe, 35, known as Rick, was one of the top salesmen at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

But Mr. Thorpe kept business success in perspective. He helped run a soup kitchen during college, served as a Big Brother and participated in Hands Together, an anti-poverty program in Haiti. Having grown up in a close family-he referred to his father, Raymond, as his best friend and called him nearly every day-Mr. Thorpe was thrilled when his wife, Linda, gave birth to their daughter, Alexis, last year.

Through it all coursed a nonstop sense of humor. Not even Mr. Thorpe’s parents escaped his fondness for nicknames, and he enjoyed initiating phone calls with a disguised voice. “He teased everyone, including me,” said Thomas Michaud, Mr. Thorpe’s boss.

Eric R. “Rick” Thorpe ’89, an economics and business graduate, was vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

On Sept. 11, my friend, Rick Thorpe, was killed in Tower Two of the World Trade
Center. He left for work that moming, and like so many others he never came home. Rick was
35 years old; he was married four years to an incredible wife, Linda, and he had a beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed baby girl, Alexis. Rick was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and brother, and a loyal friend, quick to laugh and help anyone in need. Rick was from Wilbraham, Mass., where he was a three-sport star and All-State quarterback for Minnechaug High School.

At Lafayette, where Rick and I became friends, he worked every weekend in the soup kitchen, befriending many of Easton’s “forgotten” people, reminding them of their human dignity. Rick took time to know people, regardless of social or economic stature; he knew all of the homeless in his neighborhood by name, and was frequently seen slipping dollars in the hand of a needy friend. He was also invo1ved in an outreach program, Hands Together, which benefits the poor of Haiti.

In New York he was active in the Big Brothers program, where he helped a number of boys realize their self-worth and shape their future. None of this is offered to eulogize Rick; rather, it will hopefully provide an understanding of how special a person he was, and how concerned he was about the needs of others.

On Nov. 18, some friends and I ran in the Philadelphia Marathon and raised more than $1,800 for the Thorpe Family Beneficial Trust. We wanted to honor our friend, spreading the word about how wonderful he was and helping his family.

-John Boozang ’87
Wilbraham, Mass
Thorpe Family Benefit Trust
Friends established the trust to help support the family. Contributions may be sent to The Bank
of New York, 241 Orange Turnpike (Route 17),
Tuxedo, NY 10987 (Account # 6800037563).

*”Ball Carrier on Wall Street” appeared in the section “A Nation Challenged: Portraits of Grief,” in the Oct. 31, Nov. 15, and Dec. 3 issues of The New York Times. Copyright © 2001 by the The New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.

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