In every way, the stunning death of Adam Wright was wrong.
He was far too young, too gifted, and too, well, good, to go so soon.
And yet his 21 glorious years on our patch of earth – on Margo Lane in Berwyn, at Conestoga High School (Class of ’13), and at Dartmouth College (Class of ’17) – will forever be remembered.
And remembered with a smile, if Adam has his way.
Throngs of mourners attended “A Celebration of the Life of Adam Wright (June 29, 1995 – Jan. 30, 2017)” at Paoli Presbyterian Church last Saturday.
It was a sendoff for the ages – a testament to a life, brief but so brightly lived.
Among those bearing witness: the current and former presidents of Dartmouth College (one was Adam’s grandfather) and Adam’s Beta Alpha Omega brothers at Dartmouth, who huddled and swayed in a circle of grief in the church parking lot after the service.
Even if you didn’t know Adam, you may have read about him. His frightening disappearance and the subsequent recovery of his body in a river near campus made national news two weeks ago.
But on Saturday, what was national became local.
And poignantly personal.
One by one, family, friends and neighbors, recalled a life of uncommon promise and uncompromising goodness.
They spoke of Adam’s brilliance, in particular his talent for language, a gift that showed an open heart, a global mindset and lifelong thirst for learning. Fluent in Mandarin, French and Spanish, Adam had, rather remarkably, just started studying Japanese, one of the world’s toughest tongues, in the fall of his senior year to prepare for a stay there next summer. A government major, he planned to pursue a career in politics. Yes, he would be the change he wished to see in this world.
They spoke of his passions for music and nature and his willingness to work the most menial of jobs. Even though his grandfather was a Dartmouth President and his father was an alum, both Adam and his older brother, Zack (Stoga ’11, Dartmouth ’15), had jobs washing dishes on campus. Nor was Adam above dragging a hose around the gardens of his mother’s clients in 90-degree heat (speaking from personal experience here.)
And they spoke of his smile, shatteringly bright, signaling the warmth and depth within. Instead of handshakes, mourners were asked to bid each other peace with bear hugs, as Adam would have.
He was remembered as “goofy” at times, but unfailingly kind – a gentle, 6 ft. 6-inch giant.
When you grow up on the Main Line, and especially, it seems, when you’re raised on leafy Margo Lane, you’re surrounded by talent – a fact driven home by the duet sung between eulogies.
Neighbor Sara Schmidt (of Jersey Boys Broadway fame) and Lanie Buck, literally the girl next door, sang a stunning rendition of the Wicked anthem, “For Good,” accompanied on keyboards by Lanie’s father, John Buck.
A soaring song about people “coming into our lives for a reason who help us most to grow,” it celebrated Adam’s legacy. And it lifted spirits, exactly as Adam would have wished.
It well may be
that we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Adam Wright ’17 Memorial Fund at Dartmouth College. The Wrights are also working with the College to create a meaningful tribute to Adam at a later date. Gifts can be sent to:
Gift Recording Office
6066 Development Office
Hanover, NH 03755
Shifting gears, two big ole restaurant holes in Devon are about to get filled.
DanDan is taking over the old Ella’s American Bistro in the Acme Plaza on Sugartown Rd.
An upscale Sichuan/Taiwanese restaurant and bar, DanDan’s been killing it in Center City since its July 2015 debut.
Husband/wife owners Cat and Kevin Huang hope to ditto that success – in a place that’s double the size – out our way.
So, we lost Susanna Foo in Radnor but gain new competition for Nectar and Margaret Kuo’s.
Bryn Mawr builder Gardner/Fox began renovations this week.
A spring opening is planned.
The other hot morsel, literally: Lumbrada Cocina Mexicana is moving into the old Avero space near the Devon Whole Foods Market.
On the menu: authentic Mexican fare, a handful of TexMex favorites, and a casual, elegant vibe. (Think stone pillars, faux “worn leather” walls, handmade Mexican art, 220 seats, a 15-20 seat bar and small patio out front.)
Brother owners Anselmo and Daniel Torres are busy painting and primping the defunct Italian eatery and hope to open by May.
P.S. Lumbrada = bonfire. Thought you’d want to know.
A quick switcheroo at ShredWich in Radnor. The fast-casual spot just rebranded roast+chop.
Same owner, new menu and refreshed look.
Owner Steve Hettinger tells SAVVY the new name and refreshed look “better reflects the food we serve.”
Now on the menu: four chef-created salads, four hot bowls and four sandwiches. Or you can create our own.
Everything is scratch made and natural, Steve says.
His personal faves: the Mediterranean Chicken and the Mahi Mahi Salad.
roast+chop is at 550 E. Lancaster Ave. near T.J. Maxx.
Autograph Brasserie in Wayne’s Eagle Village shops just introduced a three-course, $39 dinner menu.
Don’t mind if they do.
The fine print: The “Chef’s Signature Prix Fixe” menu is only available Sun. –Thurs. until 6:45 p.m.
Back to filling holes…
Normally, the exit of a community’s top cop would be no big deal – a successor would have been groomed and ready.
But normal’s not the norm in Tredyffrin right now.
Because Superintendent of Police Tony Giaimo just told township supes he’s retiring in June, in his first year of eligibility.
And Chief Giaimo?
Well, he’s one tough act to follow.
Among his accomplishments:
- He’s been an outspoken leader in the fight against opioid trafficking and addiction: leading the charge for drug take-back boxes (the first in Chester County) to get pain pills out of medicine cabinets and the hands of would-be addicts; arming officers with Narcan to resuscitate ODs; talking early and repeatedly to the press and community about the epidemic among us.
- He shows up. He and his community relations unit reach out to all corners of the township – from Central Ave. to Mt. Pleasant. Sometimes, Tony took time out of his own family holiday celebrations to deliver food to the stranded and needy.
- For many years, he served on Tredyffrin’s vaunted SWAT team, a unit that along with state police SWATs, protects and serves all of Chester County.
- As a field training officer, he helped shape countless law enforcement careers. Not doubt for the better. Scratch that: for the much. When’s the last time you heard about police tensions in Tredyffrin? People love these local cops so much they put our yard signs and, unbidden, raised thousands for them a couple years ago.
- His influence extends well beyond township borders: he was just installed as president of the eastern PA chapter of the FBI National Academy and he’s chairman and immediate past president of the Chester County Police Chiefs Association.
Like some of the chiefs who came before him (Baynard, Pennypacker), Chief Giaimo “set the pace” for innovation and integrity, says Det. Sgt. Todd Bereda, who’s worked with and for Tony for 25 years. “You’re looking at a Renaissance Man. It’s not always the case that competency rises to the top of organizations. He’s selfless and he holds himself to such a high set of standards. He’s a unique law enforcement leader.”
Who will fill the chief’s big, shiny shoes when he officially calls it quits in June?
Both his likely successors appear to be out of the running: Lt. Taro Landis has taken a job elsewhere and Lt. Joe Glatts is in his retirement year.
Needless to say, a search is underway.
That yummy, Philly bacon brand is headed our way.
One half of the Bacon Brothers – alas, the less famous half – will perform Friday, Feb. 24 at the Wayne Art Center. Musician and Emmy-winning composer Michael Bacon will present “21st Century Music Man” – a mélange of music and memoir.
He’s part of WAC’s Homegrown lecture series. Click here for $20 tickets. ($25 at the door.)
We sauntered into a surreal new workout in Wayne last Friday night – Glo::Barre.
Created and taught by the inimitable Jen McGowan, it’s barre by strobe light.
Toys provided: clip-on florescent fiber optic hair, glow necklaces and neon body paint, mats and balls.
Washed down with wine afterward.
Your next chance to glo sweat: Friday, Feb. 24 (adults 21+, $20pp.) at 6:30 p.m. at LSF Pilates with post-class BYO “hydration.”
Or glo with your kiddo at Mother-Daughter Glo::Barre, Sat. Feb. 25, also at 6:30.
Thinking about opting your child out of the PSSA tests?
Might want to mosey over to the Tredyffrin Library Wed. Feb. 22 at 7. Experts will lead a Q and A after a screening of “Defies Measurement.” Panelists include Lower Merion teacher and parent Danielle Arnold-Schwartz, T/E School District Superintendent Richard Gusick, Villanova Education Dept. Chair Edward Fierros, Lower Merion parent Cheryl Masterman and PA Sen. Any Dinniman. RSVP here.
Hoops fans, make some noise!
Villanova’s trustees just green-lit a $60 million renovation of the Pavilion, the outmoded 31-year old home arena for the nation’s top seeded men’s basketball team.
Paid for entirely by Nova’s deep-pocketed boosters, the project keeps the building’s footprint but improves seating and amenities.
Same basketball church, much nicer pews.
Most of Nova’ men’s 2017-2018 games will be played at the Wells Fargo Center. Girls games stay on campus.
The splashy new Finneran Pavilion should debut in time for the 2018-2019 season.
Home Court. Advantaged.
Attention, KnitWit shoppers. The fashion boutique’s owners lost their lease in Rittenhouse Square, and, while they hunt for new space, are blowing out inventory with a 50-75 percent off sale. Lines on sale include Vince, Alexander Wang, J Brand, Rag and Bone and more. Alas, the sale’s only on at 1729 Chestnut Street. It’s business as usual in Bryn Mawr.
A quick SAVVY in the City scoop: We scoped out Double Knot, perhaps Center City’s buzziest and busiest restaurant.
And yup, it more than passed muster.
We highly recommend you hit it up for the dungeon-chic décor and awesome Japanese-inspired dining.
The $55, 10-course tasting menu was deelish. Reserve today and you might just snag a table in a few months.
A SAVVY shoutout to Wayne’s Conor Delany for walking the walk – and an arduous one at that – in honor of his late buddy, Jim Klinges, who lost a long battle with leukemia shortly before his 22nd birthday in late August.
Conor, a Malvern Prep grad and UDel senior whose mom owns the local Louella boutiques, recently donated stem cells to a bone marrow donor program.
No easy feat, it turns out.
He endured rounds of tests to confirm he was a match, five days of injections and eight hours of donation time in a hospital bed – double the norm – because a vein kept collapsing. Conor’s goal: to inspire others to donate through bethematch.org.
A second shoutout to Berwyn brainiac Lisa Schlitt.
The microbiologist stood tall as Jeopardy’s “returning champion” for six straight nights recently. Toppled in her seventh appearance, she still went home with $141,000.
Got that, kids? Study. It pays.
And finally, for your viewing pleasure, a clip of the dance that brought down the house at the talent show at Paoli’s St. Norbert School.
A routine by the Brothers Watson that folks are STILL talking about.
Eileen Witczak-Watson tells SAVVY that her son Joshua, 13, learned the moves watching YouTube videos and taught them to brothers, Blaise, 12, and Luke, 9. The dance was inspired by Fik-Shun, Season 10 winner of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Uh, yeah, we think you can, Watson boys.
Check it out: