Family members and friends of Terence Young, a 19-year-old UCSB student who died of heart failure on June 21, gathered for a candlelight vigil in the Fiesta room of Francisco Torres on Friday night to share kind words and memories of the energetic freshman.
Young died after he experienced heart failure while playing basketball with his mother at a 24 Hour Fitness by his home in South Pasadena, Calif. Paramedics at the scene were unable to revive him. Young’s father, Dr. Peter Young, said his son was born without a pulmonary valve, but underwent surgery to fix the problem when he was four years old. He said his son lived a normal life after his surgery and said his death was unexpected even to his cardiologist.
Karen Everett, Young’s resident assistant last year on the third floor of the Francisco Torres North Hall, organized the vigil. Everett, a fourth-year law & society major, said Terence Young was a caring and reliable individual.
“He was a very special person,” Everett said. “He was dependable, warm-hearted and very selfless. He was a wonderful addition to our floor. He brought a lot of people together.”
Terence Young was a second-year student who had recently changed his major from computer science to business economics. His former roommate Peter Pang, a second-year political science and Chinese major, said Terence Young was the treasurer for his hall council last year. He said he loved basketball, spontaneous late-night trips to Denny’s and the Chumash Casino Resort, where he tried to win enough money to buy gifts for friends and family members.
“He really wanted to buy a BMW for his mom and dad,” Pang said. “He was a good roommate. We never got in a fight.”
Terence Young’s high school friend Michael Cruz-Herrera, a second-year electrical engineering major at Cal State Long Beach, said his friend was a multitalented person who played guitar, bass and computer games. Cruz-Herrera said Terence Young excelled at everything he tried.
“He was always the energetic one,” Cruz-Herrera said.
Stephanie Young, Terence Young’s cousin, said he was an easygoing person who got along with everyone.
“He was probably the best cousin to hang out with,” Stephanie Young said. “He was easy to talk to.” Charlene Young, another of Terence Young’s cousins, said he was close to his family, something he never took for granted.
“At every family gathering and event he was always there,” Charlene Young said. “He always wanted us to get together.” The candlelight vigil held Friday night opened with a CD recording of Terence Young playing the piano. Everett asked vigil attendees to take a yellow rose and candle outside, where they stood in a circle and shared stories about their friend and family member. Afterwards, the attendees gathered back in the Fiesta room where they watched a slideshow with background music of Terence Young playing bass. Friends and family were then invited to sign photo collages of Terence Young and read a poster filled with comments others had left on his Facebook.com profile.
Everett said she held the vigil because she thought not many people knew that Terence Young had passed away. She said she also wanted to provide a way for people to celebrate his life.
“He is someone to remember the rest of my life,” Everett said. “He’s definitely a part of my experience as a first year RA and a part of my college experience.”
Dr. Young said UCSB lowered flags on-campus to half-mast for his son on July 18. He said his son’s friends and UCSB administrators have been very supportive of the family. Both Chancellor Henry Yang and Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement John Wiemann sent letters of condolence to the family, Dr. Young said.
Dr. Young said his son had been very happy at UCSB.
“During the brief nine months of his life here at Santa Barbara, he really enjoyed his college life,” Dr. Young said. “It was a great experience for him all around … academically and socially.”