By Alex Nagler

The Roth Regatta is normally a time for cheers, cardboard, and getting wet in the pond. This year, however, the festivities were marked with sadness as Stony Brook lost a Seawolf. Stephen Roy Stakey collapsed while supporting his fellow Marching Bandmates as they rowed across the pond. He was transported to Stony Brook Medical Center, where he later died. The cause of death is still undetermined and the results of the autopsy are still pending.

I did not know Stephen, but we were both members of the Honors College and both lived in Toscanini. I had seen him in halls sometimes and he always seemed like a genuinely cheerful kid. Since his passing, I’ve heard countless wonderful stories about him, his strength of character, his programming skills, his passion for the marching band, and most importantly, his love of life. I can’t do justice to his memory, so instead, I’ll use the words of those who knew him to do service to his passing.

I still can’t believe that Stephen died. He was by far the nicest person I’ve ever met. I played percussion with him in band last year. And every day at 8th period, we’d talk. He never said anything mean about anyone. He always smiled. He always laughed. He was always happy. It seemed like he had a special way of spreading that happiness around to everyone who was talking to him.

Sometimes, I would go to make up my plus one’s in math during lunch. And he had lunch during the same period. and he would come down to the math room during lunch just to talk to the teacher, and work on computers.

He was a kid full of promise, and he would have greatly excelled in anything that he pursued. He was an amazing kid, and my heart sinks every time I think about his death. He greatly affected me as a friend, and touched my heart, as I’m sure he touched yours, and would’ve kept touching everyone he would have met in the future.

–Sam Sheryll

I still can’t believe this has happened. He is gone, just like that. Life works in mysterious ways, and this surely is no exception. The one thing that I can be happy about in my heart is that Stephen did everything there was to do in his first year. He got to experience most everything about this school and the marching band, as the regatta was pretty much our last band function together. He was truly living life large, and you will especially know this if you read the blog on his facebook that he wrote about a week ago. He had SOOOO much ahead of him, so much planned, so much to look forward to. He was counting down the days to the summer, and band camp. He was one of the nicest and most selfless kids that I had ever met, without a doubt. Steve and I and our friend Mike spent so much time together in the past few months that this is as hard as it could. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. He spent his last days having fun, missing linear algebra, and doing what he always did: live life to the fullest. We recorded videos, ate ice cream, played video games, just like we always did, and I will never forget it. And I am just so glad that I got to be a big part of it. Right now, I do not have a roommate next year. But that is okay, because he is in a better place. Words will never be able to fully describe just how I felt for Stephen Roy Stakey. Stephen, you are so dearly loved by all, and will consequently be sorely missed. The memories that you brought me and everyone else at the Stony Brook marching band will be treasured forever. Basketball with the ROCK, Mike’s birthday party, rushing to BestBuy to buy rock band drums, guitar hero, Binghamton and Hartford, the Banquets, field season and Football games, bowling, Parappa, Salsa Salsa, Bagel runs before basketball games, and Taco Bell runs after, the LAX game, making videos. There are too many memories, and these are just a few. RIP buddy, and hopefully I will see you again =] God bless <3

–Geoffrey Bansen

Stephen (Stakers) Stakey was everything everyone has said. He awed with his knowledge, humbled with his humility and generosity, and reassured with his humor and openness. We are all better for having known him. Thank you Stephen for the gift of you

–Tom Farrell

I used to babysit Stephen when he was 8 and 9 years old. Obviously, a lot of time has passed, and in hearing about Stephen’s passing I was stunned.

It’s incredible to me looking through this site, finding out about all the things that he loved, and even reading his valedictorian speech from MHS. When I knew him as a kid, Stephen was incredibly bright, funny, and, even at that early age, a budding computer addict.

He grew up to be exactly the type of person I hoped and expected, and to hear of his death is heart-wrenching. My sincerest best wishes and condolences to his friends and family. Stephen was a lovely person, and I can only imagine the magnitude to which he will be missed.

–John Harrison

Stephen Stakey was one of the greatest kids I have ever known. He was always smiling and happy, a ball of positive energy you could just feed off of. He was nice to everyone, always. He worked hard at everything he did. He was very intelligent, in honors everything and doing well in it. I remember one time I saw him doing his homework. I watched on for just two minutes and it made my head spin. Stephen was a very talented drummer and an inspiration to our band. I loved seeing him, because his happiness just made me happy. Stephen Stakey was an example of how we all should be. He was loving and compassionate. He never judged a book by its cover. He was nice to everyone, regardless of who they were or how they acted, and applied himself to the important things, like schoolwork and band, but mostly band. He tried hard in school and did well, excelling in his honor courses. Stephen had a plan. This is why he applied himself to his schoolwork. He knew he had to work hard in school to get places. Unfortunately, God has a plan too, and Stakey was not in it. I remember the last thing we said to Stephen. As he was being taken away by the ambulance, we told him not to worry. Everything was going to be ok, and we would see him soon…Unfortunately, however, it was Stephen’s time, and now he is a better place. As we light these candles we remember all that Stephen was to us. To some a band mate, to others, a friend, and to some, family. Stephen would want us to go and be the best we can be, and do great things. There is no doubt in my mind that Stephen would have done something great with his life, his gift. Because that is what life is, a gift, it’s precious, and it can be taken away. Stephen died happily, and is now looking down upon us. However, Stephen will never leave us. He will live on in our hearts and in our minds. In our memories of him. Stephen, we will miss you buddy. Now, raise your candles, for Stephen to see from heaven. We love you Stephen, and we miss you so much.

-Harrison Glaser