Joseph M. Szczepanski Jr., Oct. 16, 2011
3:42 p.m., Nov. 3, 2011--Joseph M. Szczepanski Jr., 31, of Wilmington, Del., died Sunday, Oct. 16, in Richland Township, Pa.
Mr. Szczepanski earned his bachelor of science degree in the University of Delaware's Lerner College of Business and Economics, was studying for an economics degree and working toward a master's degree.
Michal Herzenstein, assistant professor of business administration at UD, said, " I knew Joey since September 2009 when he took my class, 'Introduction to Marketing.' He was one of the best students in his section and always contributed to class discussion, using real-life examples. I was so impressed by his abilities that I later asked him to be my research assistant and also referred him to another colleague to help with her research. The work he produced, to both of us, was of high quality and always timely. He had already agreed to work with me again in spring 2012 on another project. I will certainly miss him, his positive attitude and his gentleness. Joey’s dream was to be admitted to an MBA program at Harvard. He was back on campus this semester to complete some courses in economics that would make his application even stronger. I felt like he had a real shot at getting into Harvard."
Wendy Smith, assistant professor of management at the University, said, "I was consistently inspired by Joey's engagement, passion and dedication to constantly seeking a better future for himself, for his friends and for a broader community. I am so sorry that we lost him, and his energy and passion."
Dan Young, who was Mr. Szczepanski's marketing professor for two semesters and a mentor, said, "Joey was very intellectually curious. Not only was he always extremely prepared for the classroom discussion but he always stayed after class to see how he could apply the learning into everyday life and business. After he graduated, Joey became my intern in my nonprofit organization Trustees of Color Inc., and we were working on preparing him to apply to graduate school. This is a devastating loss to me personally, as Joey became a friend and mentee to me. His story is one of perseverance, drive and determination and he will never be forgotten."
Born in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Szczepanski was a nutrition consultant and adviser sought after by many online health and fitness companies. His family described him as "the person willing to be the voice for the voiceless."
He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Theresa and Bruce Sickles of Wilmington; his father, Joseph M. Szczepanski Sr. of Laurel, Del.; his brother, Tom, of Wilmington; his sister, Leah Szczepanski of Landenberg, Pa.; his fiancée, Stephanie Torres of Somerset, N.J.; and his beloved dog, Dexter.
A memorial service was held Oct. 28 at Mealey Funeral Home in Wilmington.
Contributions in his memory may be made to Faithful Friends, 12 Germay Drive, Wilmington, DE 19804.