Late Frater Remembered for Big Heart, Smile
SOUTHBOROUGH, MASS. - Frater Andrew Sheridan's zest for life was evident during a family vacation to Cancun right before Christmas.
He went snorkeling with his sisters and instigated a splash fight with dolphins. Then, he took his 66-year-old great-aunt parasailing, showing off the kindness and spirit that drew family and friends to him.
"He was fun to be around," said his uncle, Peter Sheridan Jr. of Medway. "He always had a smile on his face that was contagious."
Andrew was well-known for his gentleness, goofy sense of humor, great soccer kick, big aspirations and for wearing flip-flops in sun and snow.
His loved ones reminisced yesterday about a "kid with incredible character."
"He's one of those kids who marched to the beat of his own drummer," said Scott Dolesh, Sheridan's former soccer coach, math teacher and adviser at St. Mark's. "People loved him for that."
Sheridan, 20, of died Monday night after suffering a seizure while playing soccer at Teamworks Sports Center on Otis Street in Northborough.
Michael and Shirley Sheridan flipped through family photos with daughters Elizabeth, 19, and Lauren, 15, sharing the life of their son and brother.
"He was just fun and goofy," said Elizabeth, whose big brother gave her the nickname "Zizzy" as a baby.
Andrew was "his sisters' protector," bear-hugging them with love, advice, encouragement and support, his mother said.
When Zizzy started her freshman year at Salve Regina University, Andrew was on the other end of the phone offering comfort and the advice to "stick it out and you'll love it." And when Lauren was accepted to St. Mark's School, her alum brother made phone calls to make sure "people looked out for her," Zizzy said.
The siblings enjoyed splashing around their pool having "chicken fights," watching shows like "The Simpson's," and playing pickup soccer in the back yard during family get-togethers.
"His life really revolved around family," Shirley Sheridan said.
Inspired by his uncle Jack, a paraplegic, Sheridan dreamed of becoming a doctor. He was a sophomore studying neuroscience at Hamilton College in New York, and interned last summer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, working toward a cure for Type 2 diabetes.
Sheridan worked in family friend Brad Lowell's research lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and impressed the scientists there with his hard work.
"He really took to it," said Lowell, a professor of medicine at Harvard University. "He became very excited about it."
At school, Sheridan joined the Alpha-Iota Chapter and volunteered to coach a soccer team of underprivileged kids in nearby Utica. He had just been accepted into the campus' paramedics program and was slated to start EMT training next week.
Fellow Frater Stuart Lombardi shared a room and the recruitment experience while being initiated into the fraternity with Sheridan last year.
"He was a good man," Frater Lombardi said of his friend. "His head was on his shoulders and his heart was in the right place."
Soccer was a special passion for Sheridan.
"Watching, playing, reffing, coaching," Zizzy said.
At St. Mark's, Sheridan was captain of the varsity soccer team that he played on for all four years, jumping back onto the field with a black and blue ankle after one injury and "going as hard as he could," Dolesh said.
Sheridan was recruited for the lacrosse team in his freshman year after Coach Steven Bristol watched the athlete strut his stuff on the soccer field.
"This is just one of those kids you want to coach," he said. "You can just tell with some kids they're special. He's one of those."
Andrew was a star with a soccer ball, but Michael Sheridan said his son decided to stick to intramural sports in college, playing for kicks rather than competition.
Sheridan collapsed Monday just before halftime during the second game of a coed doubleheader. Michael said he and his son enjoyed playing soccer together, and were invited that night because there were open spots.
"He was fit, happy. He was in good spirits," Michael said of his son, who had found the back of the net several times that night.
Andrew's family said he did not have any known medical problems that may have caused his death. Autopsy results are pending.
Sheridan's bigheartedness was no more evident than when he attended a soccer camp at Dartmouth College and played against a multi-ethnic team from the Balkans promoting harmony and understanding in that region. After the international "friendly," Andrew, as a sign of respect, swapped T-shirts with an opponent.
"That's Andrew," his father said. "He had a way of touching other people ... He made you feel good about yourself."
The Offices of the Grand Chapter send heartfelt condolences to Frater Sheridan's family, friends and fellow fraters at the Alpha-Iota Chapter.
Adapted from The Metro West Daily News, a Massachusetts newspaper. If you would like to see your chapter news here, contact Communications Coordinator Tom McAninch.