Chris “Sneakers” O’Toole (Drexel University ΕK, ‘12) was the kind of Brother who could connect with anyone. His interests ranged from reading enormous books, playing fantasy football and enjoying a wide range of movie genres. He was the guy we would meet at a recruitment event and think, “I want to get to know him.”
O’Toole’s love of science-fiction films, anime and video games seemed to have a gravitational pull for Nik Bournelis (Drexel University EK, ‘10). Bournelis was already a member of Lambda Chi Alpha as O’Toole was recruiting, so the natural chemistry of their friendship was able to grow from the moment they had met. Thinking back on it now, he understands how special and rare that kind of connection is.
O’Toole passed away on January 15th, 2020. His unexpected passing changed the lives of his family, friends, and Brothers forever. No longer will his smile beam as a friend shows him a new trending video or meme he had not seen yet. While this new reality sank in, he is remembered by his humorous personality that added enjoyment to any room he was in.
Bournelis explains “His obituary spoke to me and it was a good way to embody him. It was one last thing we could smile at to say, ‘yea, that captures him. That’s the way he would have wanted to be remembered.”
O’Toole was a member who created the friendships he longed for; it was natural for him. When the chapter would introduce a philanthropy event, O’Toole would be there. If the group chat called for an impromptu game night, he was the first to arrive. If a friend wanted to try something new, he would join so they didn’t have to do it alone. Joining Lambda Chi Alpha, for O’Toole, was about creating lasting friendships. It gave him a sense of community that can only be experienced through the Brotherhood.
His ability to create a family-like environment can be credited to simply to the person he was. Few people could walk into a room and instantly create a sense of unity, but O’Toole did. His presence was one of inclusivity; he used his wide range of interests to bring others into his circle. From his love of fantasy to his dedication toward his education in biomedical engineering, anyone who shared common ground with O’Toole was a friend for life.
“He always acknowledged that the Fraternity was what brought us together to make us friends” says Bournelis.
Our Core Value, Loyalty, can be defined by words, but it is better defined by the actions of O’Toole. He didn’t just speak about his dedication to the Lambda Chi Alpha Brothers, he displayed it in his everyday life. After graduating and beginning a new life, Bournelis explains that his connection to O’Toole never faded. They could start off exactly where they had left off.
He created an environment that allowed for the kind of love that created strong relationships. Playing video and card games together was only scratching the surface of what O’Toole would do for his friends. He ensured his relationships were cultivated into something that would last infinitely. Chris O’Toole embodies what is means to create a healthy, loving Brotherhood.
The graphic of O’Toole used as the header for this article can also be seen on bookmarks the family would like to give to our members. If you would like to remember O’Toole in a physical way, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a bookmark as a remembrance.
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