NDSU Student Passes Away
People remember Gaffen’s colorful personality, life
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 09:02
Tracy Dakota Gaffen died Feb. 4 from an accidental overdose. He was 19 years old.
Gaffen graduated from Wayzata (Minn.) High and was a freshman at NDSU. He lived in Churchill and Johnson Halls. He recently left school and spent his last few weeks at home.
“A lover of the outdoors and an avid musician, Tracy had a bright future and an even bigger heart,” said Gaffen’s obituary published in the Star Tribune Feb. 9.
An outpouring of support can be found on the Star Tribune’s website, where more than 30 accounts have posted memories of Gaffen and condolences for his family.
“I met Tracy at NDSU,” wrote Nick Davis, a freshman studying mechanical engineering. Gaffen was Davis’s neighbor in Johnson Hall for the three weeks Gaffen resided there. The two enjoyed hanging out and playing blues guitar.
“Once, we went over to the lounge with our guitars and sang about people walking by to a classic blues tune, which made a lot of people laugh,” Davis wrote. “Tracy was really good at doing that. I honestly don’t think I ever saw him without a smile on his face.”
“I wish I had the chance to know him better,” Davis concluded. “He really touched my life in those three short weeks. My prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Another commenter acclaimed Gaffen’s family for noting the cause of death.
“I commend you for revealing the way Tracy died, and I offer my sympathies and support,” the post read.
Churchill Hall residents recently had a meeting discussing Gaffen’s death. Reed/Johnson residents were notified of his death via email. Grieving students are encouraged to visit the NDSU Counseling Center, located in Ceres 212.
To honor Gaffen, the family wished the readers of the Star Tribune to do a random act of kindness on behalf of Tracy or donate to the local humane society.
A memorial service was held Saturday at Wayzata Community Church.
Gaffen is survived by his loving family.