Family, friends gather for candlelight memorial for Thomas Graber

Photo by Andrea Huls
Family, friends, students, faculty and staff take a moment to remember Thomas H. Graber at an Oct. 8 memorial in the Flagler Room. Graber was stabbed to death in his home in Lincolnville on Oct. 26.

By Andrea Huls

Kind. Loyal. Sincere. Unique. Passionate. Funny. A gentleman. This was Thomas Graber, a great guy, a true friend. Tears, but also laughter, filled the Flagler Room as his friends, professors and Flagler College remembered him on Oct. 8.

One by one, Graber’s friends walked up to the podium to share a fun experience or a memory that described who he really was.

Patrick Higgins, political science major, became friends with Graber in a research methods class a few semesters ago. According to Higgins, unlike most students on campus, Graber loved the dining hall food. Both had meal plans, and after class they would eat lunch together and have a good time.

About a month ago, Higgins had a conversation with Graber that stuck in his head. Higgins recalls Graber saying, “I have been living for myself a very long time, and I feel it is time that I start doing something for somebody else.”

Alumna Kelly Olsen was a close friend of Graber in and out of school. Both were political science majors and shared many classes. However, she remembers one class in particular, where, “Thomas used to always come in late and bring a Subway and eat it in class,” Olsen said. “I couldn’t get mad at that, even though I was always on time and not eating Subway. Because that was just Thomas and that is just what he did. And I will really miss him for that kind of stuff.”

Communication major Maureen Karstens dated Graber her first semester at Flagler. She said he was a gentleman, sweet, funny and respectful.

Thomas Graber

“He made it his mission that I understood how to party at Flagler,” Karstens said. “He introduced me to everyone, and I have to thank him because I’m still friends with most of those people.”
She also remembers how Graber was the first guy to take her out to restaurants downtown because she was new and he wanted her to know what the best meals were. Even when they stopped dating he sent her a huge bouquet of flowers.

Other friends who shared their memories about Graber talked about his honesty, his sense of humor, his generosity, his skills on the tennis courts and his sense of respect.

“He was a great kid,” Tim Galvin said after explaining how Graber made a point to teach him everything he needed to know about grilling and football.

With candlelight and a few moments of silence, Graber was remembered for all the things that made him stand out as a great friend, student and son.

The former Flagler student was stabbed to death in his Lincolnville apartment on Oct. 26.

Two California men have been charged with the homicide/arson — Emmanuel Axavier Head, 19, and Vincent Sterling Houston, 19. Ariah Curtiss Minniefield, 20, is facing charges of accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.

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