The Bates College Chapel filled with mourners yesterday afternoon for a memorial service in honor of Bates first year Troy Pappas, who died last Friday after sustaining serious injuries from a fall down a dormitory stairwell on September 29.
Police told the Portland Press Herald that they believe Pappas, 18, was sliding down a banister from the third floor to the first floor of the dorm when he fell, fracturing his skull. Pappas was rushed to Central Maine Medical Center immediately following the accident at around 9:30 p.m. that evening, where he remained in critical condition until his death.
The son of John Pappas and Mary Blackwell of Eliot, Maine, Pappas was a member of the National Honors Society, math team, and captain of the varsity football and baseball teams at Marshwood High School. After graduating in 2012, the Press Herald named him one of the school’s top graduates. He planned to study medicine and was taking courses in math, chemistry and physics at Bates, where he also played for the football team, according to Roland Adams, Bates senior communications adviser.
“Right now the Bates community is still focused on appropriately remembering Troy and trying to be of support to his family,” wrote Adams in an email to the Orient.
Bates Multifaith Chaplain Bill Blaine-Wallace led yesterday’s memorial service. The Bates Office of Communications reported that Pappas’ family and teammates sat in the first pews, facing his signed football jersey and a cascade of 1,000 paper doves folded by community members in his memory. Mark Harriman, head football coach, led mourners in “A Litany of Remembrance” and the Bates College Choir sang compositions by Bach and Mozart.
Since his death, friends and family of Pappas have shared their memories of him online on the memorial website troypappasmemorial.com, where visitors can also donate to a memorial fund established by his family. Those who knew Pappas have also shared remembrances and words of sympathy for his loved ones on two public Facebook groups, “In Loving Memory of Troy J. Pappas” and “Rest in Peace Troy Pappas.”
“I’ll always remember those glory days of playing hoop against each other,” wrote Nick Forsyth, a high school classmate of Pappas. “You were a great competitor and an even better friend.”
“A great person, A great athlete, Great music taste, A Great fan and a wonderful personality,” wrote AJ Reynolds.
“If you want a portrait of Troy, it is worth knowing this: He was perhaps the most popular child in class last year, mainly because he was nice—to everyone...Many of the boys here at MHS, now seniors, are, of course, devastated, but to a degree I’ve not seen in a long time,” Paul Mehlhorn, principal of Marshwood High School, told Seacoast Online.
On the day after his death, three of Pappas’ uncles led the Bates football team onto the field for a match against Williams and senior captain Patrick George held Pappas’ jersey for each player to touch before the game began, according to Adams. Bates President Clayton Spencer and Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh joined the team on the field for a moment of silence.
According to the Seacoast Online, visiting hours will be held today at Eliot Baptist Church from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral will take place at the church at 3 p.m. on Sunday.