Sunday, November 29, 2020

PSUC remembers ‘kind-hearted’ student

He will be remembered by his friends and loved ones as a caring, warm and sociable young man who always had a big smile on his face wherever he went.

Evan Gillies, a junior at Plattsburgh State known lovingly as “Edo,” touched the hearts of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. At the age of 21, Evan passed away Aug. 30 in the Town of Schuyler Falls, N.Y.

A native of Huntington, Gillies was beloved by his friends and family in both Plattsburgh and his hometown. Attending PSUC to study business administration, Gillies was renowned for his ability to light up any room he walked into, and brighten everyone’s spirits.

“Edo was a smart, energetic and kind-hearted young man. He was the life of the party, and he always had a smile on his face,” said Clayton Chachulski, a senior at PSUC and long-time friend of Gillies.

At the beginning of the fall semester, Gillies moved into a room at the Chi Phi fraternity house on Broad Street, and although he was not technically a brother in the fraternity, he was loved as one by everyone living in the house.

“I remember him being the one person I would see every single day at 84 Broad St. ready to hang out and make everyone laugh and just enjoy life,” said Cameron Guerin, a PSUC junior and a member of Chi Phi.

The fraternity held a candlelight vigil on the front steps of their house in Gillies’ honor on the Monday evening following his passing. Hundreds of people attended, standing side-by-side in the front lawn with lit candles, sharing memories and reminiscing. A memorial surrounded with candles was constructed on the porch with a photo of Gillies, flanked by boards with hundreds of hand-written messages and good-byes.

Standing in a large group around the memorial, people took turns approaching it, saying their own personal good-byes and leaving small offerings such as cans of Gillies’ favorite beer, Natural Ice.

“The bottom line is the kid loved to make everyone else’s day,” Guerin said. “He always wanted to have fun. He lived life to the fullest in his 21 years.”

As news of his passing spread, an outpouring of love, grief and condolences from friends and family covered Gillies’ Facebook page.

Hundreds of people posted photos of Gillies and themselves, sharing memories and experiences they had together. Gillies’ sister, Alison Gillies, responded to the massive number of posts, expressing her own grief, and thanking everyone for their touching demonstration.

On Wednesday, via a Facebook post, she announced the family’s plan to turn Gillies’ profile into a memorial page for people to remember him by, and once again expressed her family’s gratitude for the immense amount of love and support shown by his friends.

Evan’s wake was held at M.A. Connell Funeral Home in Huntington Station on Sept. 4. His funeral services took place at Our Lady Queen Of Martyrs R.C. Church in Centerport, NY on the following day.

“He was always down to be adventurous and spontaneous,” Chachulski said, “but if you needed someone to talk to, he would always be there. His memory will live on forever.”

Email Thomas Marble at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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