By Dallas Ducar ’10 and Michael Mandeville ’11
“He was who he was, always,” said Cooper Davis ’10 about his friend Brophy senior Robby Mayasich ’10. “And that is what made him so special.”
Mayasich died March 2 after he was struck by a car during a running race several days earlier. He was 18.
Friday, Feb. 26 a group of Brophy students along with others from around Arizona entered the Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a race that starts in Prescott and ends in Mesa.
Shortly after running an eight-mile stretch of the race on the Carefree Highway, Mayasich was hit by a car near the Lake Pleasant area in the early morning hours of Feb. 27. He was airlifted to St. Joseph’s hospital, where doctors later determined his injuries were too severe for him to recover.
The news of Mayasich’s injury first surfaced early Saturday through masses of texts, e-mails and phone calls from students, teachers and parents alike.
Soon after, a prayer service was held for Mayasich. A series of Twitter posts kept the community updated on his condition. The next day a standing room only vigil took place in the Brophy Chapel.
The Brophy community said their final goodbye at a funeral Mass Monday, March 8.
Mayasich was born Oct. 11, 1991 in St. Paul, Minn. He lived there for a few years before moving to Detroit and then back to Minnesota. Finally, Mayasich landed in Phoenix in August 2003.
For most of his pre-school and early elementary school years, Mayasich attended Montessori schools followed by a Catholic school for a few years before moving to Phoenix, where he went to St. Francis Xavier.
In 2006 he started his career at Brophy College Preparatory where teachers and family said he began to flourish.
“He had such a wonderful sense of who he was and wasn’t afraid to let other people know who he was without basically making everybody see him,” said Ms. Deborah Kauffman. “He was true to himself.”
Mayasich was an active athlete most of his life.
“He played a lot of hockey before moving here to Phoenix, then transitioned over to some baseball, then lacrosse and golf when we moved to Phoenix. He loved sports,” said Mr. Dan Mayasich, Robby’s father.
Along with athletics, Mayasich shared an equal passion for music. He first learned the Suzuki violin from ages three to six and then steadily moved on to learning the classical guitar for six years.
“We could often hear his sister Frances practicing her pieces, then (Robby) would go over and learn them by ear on his own,” Mr. Mayasich said. “It was one of our favorite things about him—his musical gift.”
With a love for music and athletics, friends and family said he had an even greater love for other human beings.
“Robby and his brother (Danny Mayasich ’08) had a really special relationship,” Davis said. “Like Mr. Stephen Johnson was saying at his vigil, just the love he had for his family and his friends was just really amazing.”
This extended beyond his immediate family.
“Another great example is his relationship with Logan Panzarella (Jack Panzarella’s ’10 younger brother), he loved Logan and thought of him as a little brother,” Mr. Mayasich said.
Aside from showing his true colors, Mayasich was known to have a lasting impact on others as well.
“He was on my lacrosse team and he had this pink shaft that everyone knows about; it’s the funniest thing because he likes bright colors, it was neon bright,” said Keon Seif-Naraghi ’10. “So one day he had the idea to hit everyone’s stick with his pink shaft, then everyone would have some of his pink shaft because it would rub off.”
“That was kind of who he was, he rubbed off on people, he just made everything better, he put himself into everyone else. He is a completely fun person, always smiling, laughing, completely goofy and really smart,” Seif-Naraghi said.
Others described how impossible it was not to feel a sense of love when in Mayasich’s presence.
“Every minute I was with him was a lasting impact,” said Luke Meyer ’10, a close friend and pall bearer at Mayasich’s funeral, while remembering a road trip to the University of Arizona with Mayasich.
Mr. Mayasich said his son had a kind and giving spirit.
“He was just a lovely human being who quietly went about his life spreading goodness among those he came into contact with,” Mr. Mayasich said. “He had a big heart, was snuggly and loving even as he grew into a young man. He hugged his parents and siblings constantly, kissed us good night, said ‘I love you’ throughout each day and always.”
Friends of Mayasich remember everything that made him who he was— the complete package.
“All of that put into one made you realize that you didn’t have to be mad at anyone in life,” Seif-Naraghi said. “It makes you realize that the little things don’t really matter when this guy is so happy.”
“He had a kind of a wisdom that people don’t normally get until later in life,” Ms. Kauffman added.
“Robby impacted a lot of people,” Meyer said. “He’s the smartest, funniest, nicest kid I’ve ever known.”
When asked what the Brophy community should take from Robby’s life, Mr. Mayasich said students should realize they are never too old to walk into their parents’ room, give them a hug and a kiss and tell them they love them.
“Care about those less fortunate and do good work,” Mr. Mayasich added.
“Take school seriously, play hard, have a blast and love. Love a lot.”
“He had such a wonderful sense of who he was and wasn’t afraid to let other people know who he was without basically making everybody see him. He was true to himself.”
— Ms. Deborah Kauffman
“That was kind of who he was, he rubbed off on people, he just made everything better, he put himself into everyone else. He is a completely fun person, always smiling, laughing, completely goofy and really smart.”
— Keon Seif-Naraghi ’10