Deceased October 29, 2010

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In Memory

At the end of October, Michael Anthony Turek tragically and unexpectedly passed away at the age of 40. Mike majored in Russian studies at Amherst, and following Amherst, went to Stanford Law School where he eventually practiced as a lawyer in California. The years have dimmed some of the details of specific events at Amherst, but several of Mike’s best qualities still burn bright. Mike had a candor that was refreshing and unusual, and he would not hesitate to communicate his thoughts to you in an unfiltered way. As a result, he would do things that more convention-bound people might hesitate to do—whether it was bringing a lecture hall of 100 students to a screeching halt until he fully understood a point; approaching people in social situations without a second thought about rejection or consequences; or stripping a situation down to its unvarnished core. Mike was a very idealistic person who did not readily see the value of compromise. While this did not make him universally popular, it was a character trait his friends appreciated in him.

Mike also had an active intellectual life that never really faded as an adult. In his later years, when many of us have comfortably settled into the routines of our personal and professional lives and the urgency of ‘The Great Questions’ had taken a back seat to more mundane concerns, Mike still genuinely struggled with big philosophical issues—years after college, I remember hearing from him frequently on topics ranging from subjectivity and consciousness to literary criticism and the value of different thought systems. Mike’s idealism also contributed to a sense of dissatisfaction he had with the here-and-now. Like a character from a story by one of his favorite writers, Dostoyevsky, Mike could be bitter that the world as it was did not live up to his vision of what it could be. He was a true Notes from the Underground Man.

Mike was also a good athlete but appropriate to his personality, he focused on solo sports, such as tennis rather than team efforts. Mike was also a steadfast friend. Although he did not have the widest of social circles, he did maintain a strong loyalty to his circle and stuck up for them in conflicts. He was always available for a heart-to-heart talk on difficult topics and was willing to lend a sympathetic ear.

He will be sorely missed.

Mark Sadeghian ’92