By Jordan Mayblum — Co-Editor-In-Chief
When the men who make up the third floor of Karandon House returned from winter break, the void was apparent. The burgundy chair which only one person could make into a bed was empty. Nobody was longboarding through the carpeted hallway. No one was hiding under a bed waiting to jump out.
Jon Glenn, an accounting major, didn’t technically live in Karandon, but his presence there was so common, he was considered to be a roommate on a floor of open doors. Before he passed away unexpectedly over winter break, he made an impact on all those he met, and did it in different ways. He found a way to relate to everybody.
There was a standing-room only crowd in de Witt Hall at a memorial service in his honor in January.
“He had an intellectual and philosophical disposition toward life,” senior Harsh Trivedi said. Talking with Glenn could begin with a discussion of the Mayans and somehow evolve into a conversation about extraterrestrial life. “Things would just string together well with him,” Trivedi said.
No problem was too complex for Glenn to solve. “Any problem you had, you could go to him,” said senior Carlton Lentini, Glenn’s suitemate in Bragdon this year. “He would just give you the right answer.”
Glenn could sneak up on just about anybody. He would hide under beds, sometimes bringing a book and reading lamp if he thought it would be a while before there would be someone to surprise. Those who spent time around him found themselves laughing more often than not.
The one person he could never surprise, though not for a lack of effort, was his stepfather and former scout leader Norman Bersing. His friends at Lasell knew he loved the outdoors, especially the sunset and stars in the night sky, but they weren’t aware that he was three merit badges and a project away from becoming an Eagle Scout.
Bersing said his first glimpse into his stepson’s character came on a cub scout camping trip when Glenn was 11 years old. He asked his stepfather, who helped raise him from the age of three, what he should call him in front of the other scouts. Bersing told him it would be fine if he called him by his first name, as he and his brother did at home.
When they got to the campground, it wasn’t long before Glenn addressed him as Mr. Bersing. His stepfather asked him later why he did that, and Glenn told him that he thought it’d be easier for him to lead if Glenn was just another scout.
“His real passion was his family,” Bersing said. He loved to spend time with his younger brother, Nathan, and took multiple cross-country road trips with his older brother, Jim. He talked about both of them to his friends at Lasell.
He and his mother were exceptionally close, as she and Glenn’s biological father split up when he was just an infant. “He wasn’t a Momma’s boy,” Bersing said. “But he was Momma’s boy.”
Glenn was an artist, of sorts, and used Trivedi and senior Adam Ebert’s whiteboard as a canvas. He didn’t hesitate to get creative with the desktop background of Trivedi’s computer, either. Trivedi’s computer is full of reminders of Glenn’s presence. Glenn’s remaining artwork includes a facial portrait of Trivedi and a rough stick figure that depicts Trivedi swimming with a dolphin and a cow.
Glenn had high aspirations for himself beyond accounting. He hoped to open his own pizza place one day, and likely would have used his mother’s maiden name as its namesake. Lentini said that Glenn thought about becoming a college professor as well. According to Ebert, he planned to write a book one day, “When he had something to say.”
His death is the second one the community has had to come to grips with in as many semesters, as fellow senior Jimmy Curtis passed away in August. Reverend Tom Sullivan, the director of the Center for Spiritual Life, helped Curtis and Glenn’s friends work through the grieving process. “It’s heartwarming to see how the community has responded,” Sullivan said.
While he was here, Glenn brought countless smiles to people’s faces, even if it was at his own expense. Senior James Hooper-Hamersley, who became close with Glenn just last semester, warned him once that he’d probably get hurt if he went to play football. When Glenn returned later that day with a splint on his newly broken finger, it was just another opportunity for him to make people laugh.