In June, Duncan Hilchey wrote a note to all the friends and family of his 20-year-old son Tom Hilchey (16Ox, 18C), who died earlier that summer. Duncan Hilchey reminded them that it was all right to cry and all right for them to miss his son’s quirky traits.
“My arms will always be stretched wide and waiting for your embrace,” Duncan Hilchey wrote on behalf of his son. “I hope you all felt this love from me because in the end that’s really all I leave behind.”
Tom Hilchey was pronounced brain dead June 4 after sustaining injuries from an accidental fall off a back porch railing in Ithaca, N.Y., the Wheel previously reported.
More than 70 friends, family members and professors wearing bright colors signature of Tom Hilchey gathered at the Miller-Ward Alumni House Saturday for a memorial service to celebrate Tom Hilchey’s life and eclectic array of passions.
Tom Hilchey’s parents read Duncan Hilchey’s note aloud, and other speakers ranging from friends to aunts mentioned Tom Hilchey’s rosy-cheeked demeanor, “man buns” and unquestionable rank as a soccer buff.
“He was the kind of person you wait your whole life to meet,” Kira Zagorc (16Ox, 18B) said during Saturday’s service.
Jake Otsuki (16Ox, 18C), who roomed with Tom Hilchey for a year and half, remembered him as a lanky and empathetic freshman.
“He was fascinated with [his hobbies] but also with you and what you had to say,” Otsuka said.
Tom Hilchey’s brother, Jack Hilchey (15C), talked about his brother at a much younger age, describing a moment when he was upside down on a trampoline.
“Tom soared,” Jack Hilchey said during the service. “He needed to feel the breeze in his hair and the sun on his face. I suppose he’s a comet now.”
In a June interview with the Wheel, Jack Hilchey recalled Tom Hilchey’s “wonderfully intelligent way” of budgeting his time in college and while studying abroad, his natural tendency to put others first and his embodiment of a life enjoyed to the fullest.
Some of Tom Hilchey’s friends played a soccer game in memory of him at Oxford College Sunday.
Emory is offering The Tom Hilchey Study Abroad Award to an Emory College student who is studying abroad in Spring 2018. The award will fund $1,000 of the trip.
Five of Tom Hilchey’s organs were distributed among five individuals, including a 31-year-old father and a 10-year-old girl who just finished the fifth grade, according to a July 13 Center for Organ Recovery and Education letter that was sent to the Hilchey family.
“I just know absolutely in my heart that’s what he would’ve wanted,” Amy Christian, Tom Hilchey’s mother, told the Wheel in June regarding the decision to donate her son’s organs. “He would’ve given the clothes off his back to anyone who needed them,” Christian said.
These clothes, Christian added, usually included colorful Christmas T-shirts and the same old pair of battered purple Adidas sneakers.
Counseling and support services are available to the Emory community. Students may reach Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 404.727.7450 or the Office of Religious Life at 404.727.6225. Faculty and staff may reach the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at 404.727.4328.