School of Management freshman Luis Enrique Badillo said his roommate and friend Tony Barksdale II enriched his life through his kindness and friendship.
“Tony showed me how to be humble, how to be grateful for what we have,” Badillo, a School of Management freshman, said. “I learned so much from Tony in so little time.”
To honor Barksdale’s life, about 200 students gathered in Boston University’s Metcalf Hall to hold a candlelight vigil Thursday night. Barksdale, a College of Engineering freshman, died early Saturday morning.
“Tony was a vibrant, active, and energetic member of the Boston University community,” Brother Lawrence Whitney of Marsh Chapel said at the vigil.
Badillo said he and Barksdale were both close friends and Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity brothers.
“We were really close,” he said. “I told him my good stories. I told him my bad stories. I told him everything … He was the kind of guy who had an answer to everything.”
Because Badillo is originally from Mexico, he said Barksdale sometimes enjoyed teaching him American slang or English words.
“Tony wasn’t only my friend, but also my translator,” he said.
He said Barksdale was always friendly to his neighbors on the third floor west of The Towers dormitory, where the two lived together.
“Tony was always willing to be friends with everyone,” he said. “He was the soul of our floor.”
Ty Sweeney, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman who lived two doors down from Barksdale, said students have established a memorial for Barksdale in the third floor common room where people write notes or favorite memories. However, he said the memorial does not do complete justice to Barksdale’s character.
“There’s too many words to describe him,” Sweeney said. “He was an incredibly genuine guy, like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy.”
SMG freshman Fred Schmidt, Sweeney’s roommate, said Barksdale was constantly working toward something.
“He always wanted to learn new things and he had a lot of goals,” he said.
One of his goals for the spring 2013 semester was to get in shape, Schmidt said. Others on the floor helped to devise a workout plan for Barksdale to do so.
“He would come in our room every night and we’d do pushups … or attempt,” he said. “Sometimes we’d have to yell at him, but he always did them.”
Towers Residence Hall Director Vaishakhi Desai said she remembered Barksdale as cheerful when she met him on move-in day in the fall.
“The Towers community has lost one of its most fun and energetic residents,” she said.
Barksdale used to read applications on the Towers’ “Speed Dating” message board aloud and make everyone laugh with his comments, Vaishakhi said.
Students were able to write a note for Tony on a large message board as they left the vigil, which was organized by The Freshman Council of the College of Engineering’s Student Government, the Dean of Students Office and Religious Life at BU.
Barksdale’s memorial service will be held Saturday at Souhegan High School in Amherst, N.H. BU officials are offering a bus Saturday morning to New Hampshire for students who wish to attend the service.
Badillo said knowing Barksdale has changed him and that Barksdale would not want his friends to be sad, but instead to remember the good times they shared.
“He wants us to be happy,” Badillo said. “He wants us to be active. He wants us to be smiling.”