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Seeing the expression of joy on their son’s face while watching airplanes land at Johnstown airport is a memory that Dr. Joshpat (Joe) Nginyo and Kathy Dusack will cherish forever. Gabriel Allan Nginyo, their son, was just 19 years old when he passed away tragically in a car accident over the Thanksgiving weekend.

As a young child, Gabriel would ask his parents to take him to see the planes. He developed a love of airplanes that resonated throughout his young life. “He was an aero engineering student at Penn State. He was determined to achieve his goals,” said Kathy. “He loved airplanes and was so excited for his future.”

As Gabriel’s friends and family gathered for his memorial service, it was clear that Gabriel had influenced and touched many lives. The stories they shared revealed a young man who was kind, caring, fearless, and brilliant. His friends joked about how they always called Gabe when they needed help with Calculus homework. Another commented on how Gabriel left his graduation party to help him work on the transmission in his car.

Kathy’s sister Diane spoke about her nephew and how he loved thrill rides–any ride that took you high in the air and left you gasping for breath. On a recent visit to Universal Studios, one of Gabriel’s favorite places, she and Gabriel decided to go back to the park on the day before they were scheduled to leave, for one more thrill ride on the “Hulk.” During the lengthy wait for the ride, Diane and Gabriel shared a wonderful conversation about Gabriel’s desire to get through school, become successful, and be able to care for his parents–who both worked so hard. He wanted to provide for them in their retirement. During this conversation, Diane realized that her nephew had become a man.

Diane finished her remarks with a poem by Mary Lee Hall that reminded the crowd gathered that while missing a loved one can be painful, there is still an opportunity to enjoy life as they would have wanted and make meaning out of their death by continuing their legacy.

Kathy and Joe created the Gabriel Allan Nginyo Memorial Scholarship to honor Gabriel’s memory. The scholarship will support graduating students from Forest Hills High School pursuing post-secondary education in engineering, especially aerospace engineering. It was important for Kathy and Joe to carry on his legacy in this way. “He had so much potential and was determined to achieve his goals,” said Kathy. “We want to help students with those same goals realize their dreams. Gabriel would be so proud of this memorial scholarship.”

To donate to the Gabriel Allan Nginyo Memorial Scholarship Fund, click here. To learn how you can create a memorial scholarship in honor of a loved one, please contact Katrina Perkosky or visit our website.

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