Sophomore Marty Mazanec died in his hometown of Solon, Ohio on Jan. 14. Mazanec’s brother, Patrick, is a senior at the University and his aunt, Joan Prendergast, is an employee in the Internship office.
Mazanec had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January of last year. He did not attend the spring semester of 2004, but returned to the University in the fall of 2004.
A member of the honors program, Mazanec is remembered by his friends for his many talents. A gifted musician, he played violin in the band Jambe and the Sauce, which performed at the University’s Connelly Center this fall.
For all his talents, the one thing all of his friends remember him for is his selflessness.
“Anything he touched was in a positive way,” sophomore Erica Dunhour said. “He was just an awesome kid, just concerned about everyone but himself.”
Though he was only here for a short time, Mazanec was able to touch the lives of many people.
“He was the first person a lot of people met here,” Tom Keenan, Mazanec’s roommate said, “He was so personable; he genuinely wanted to be nice to everyone.”
“I can remember just sitting in the first floor Coughlin study lounge late night just taking to with Marty,” friend Denis Connell said. “He could talk to you about anything from obscure philosophical stuff to football.”
When he was first diagnosed last January, many of Mazanec’s closest friends from Villanova made the trek to Ohio to see him.
“We went out and his family just let us stay at his house; it was almost 20 people,” sophomore Dan O’Donnell said.
“We ended up being great friends with his friends from home. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Even with his illness, Mazanec never let his disease keep him down. “Marty was all about quality of life, not quantity,” Connell remembers.
“His spirits were about as high as you can get. He never wanted any sympathy, he was content.”
“He wouldn’t want you to feel uncomfortable,” Keenan said, “He would go out of his way to make you feel comfortable about his illness.”
“When things had gotten rough, there was never any ‘why me?'” said Keenan.
“He had such strong faith that he was just worried about his family and friends.”
Again on Jan. 17, almost a year to the day of the first trip, Mazanec’s friends returned to Ohio to pay their final respects at his funeral. His friends were touched by the outpouring of kindness from Mazanec’s community.
“We showed up at these people’s houses in his hometown late at night and they took us in and gave us food and a bed; they were like our own parents,” said Connell.
“People try and carry on the same ideals that Marty had of just being nice to everyone.”
“It just made us realize how lucky we are, by random chance, to meet him,” said James Barry.
“Marty was busy living. If there’s one thing to take from this, that’s it. Get busy living.”