Friends remember

Matt Peters

Fraternity honors two students’ memory

Delta Zeta sister Stephaine Lewellyn, sophomore nursing major, writes a note on a remembrance poster for Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers Eric Citino and Brandon Butler. A memorial service was held last night in the Auditorium with members of fraternities and s

Credit: Andrew popik

Family, students and community members gathered at the Auditorium last night in memory of two students killed in a car crash last month.

About 200 people attended the ceremony held by Sigma Phi Epsilon for Brandon Butler and Eric Citino.

Citino and Butler were Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers who were killed along with fellow Kent State freshman Chelsea Lausberg. They were driving eastbound on Beloit Snodes Road near Alliance Feb. 3 when Citino ran a stop sign and collided with a Ford pickup truck.

Ryan Teitz, Sigma Phi Epsilon president, said the memorial service helped, and he was impressed with the turnout.

“It’s like closure,” Teitz said. “It’s a remembrance. It happened a month ago, but we still aren’t forgetting about them.

“I was glad to see all the people here and glad to see everyone being supportive.”

As attendees entered the Auditorium, they signed a photo of Citino and Butler. The memorial included several speeches and a PowerPoint presentation.

Stories shared by speakers ranged from recounts of humorous high school memories to the development of friendship in Butler and Citino’s semester at Kent State.

Gary Chaney lived in the same residence hall as Butler. He recalled the two became such good friends so quickly that other residents would poke fun at them for it.

“A couple of girls from upstairs used to say we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we were together so much,” Chaney said, laughing.

Chaney said Butler never gave a second thought to lending a helping hand. He would often lend out his car or money. He said as a result of the accident, the people in his residence hall are closer.

Several fraternity brothers spoke about how quickly their friendships developed with the two, even though they only started at the university and joined the fraternity in the fall. Kasey Stewart, Sigma Phi Epsilon vice president of new member development, said it was a privilege to get to know the two.

“Through this position, I don’t think I’ll ever find anyone like those two,” Stewart said.

Willie Parker, who also lived in the same hall as Butler, said the service also acted as a way to personalize the lives of the two.

“You can’t put a face with the news,” Parker said during the open floor portion of the memorial. “Brandon was not just another face. He was a spectacular person.”

Ben Desantis also was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fall 2004 class and remembered Citino as someone who would lend a helping hand whenever possible. During finals week, Citino helped to prepare Desantis for his math final.

“Without me even asking, he sat down with me and helped me with my math,” Desantis said. “He sat with me for five hours until I got it.”

Desantis also spoke about the last time he saw Citino. Citino offered to take Desantis with him to his brother’s high school wrestling match just hours before the car crash, but he declined.

The memorial came to a close with Marvin Butler, Brandon’s dad, speaking. Marvin reflected on his loss, but said he appreciated everything Sigma Phi Epsilon did for his son.

“At least we know he made friends up here,” Marvin said.

In closing, he said Sigma Phi Epsilon members are welcome at his home anytime.

Contact public affairs reporter Matt Peters at [email protected].