Tragic loss of a team member

John Lafata, a dedicated and talented Team RUSH (frc27) student passed away over the weekend due to complications from pneumonia. John couldn’t be revived after collapsing suddenly. John was in 11th grade at Clarkston High School. He was 16 years old.

John was a pit crew member and the lead student designer of our chassis sub-group. John was bright and eager to help, and devoted countless late nights last year to get our bot up and running. His natural mechanical ability was astonishing.

John was also one of the kindest students I’ve ever had the pleasure of mentoring. If you came into our pits last season you undoubtedly interacted with him. He jumped at the chance to explain his work and the work of his fellow teammates! His energy and excitement for engineering and FIRST was incredible. His leadership and intensity will be greatly missed.

If you would like to help support the family, donations can be made to one of two funds. The Lafata Education Fund will help support the educational needs of John’s younger brother and sister. The Lafata Family Fund is for general donations. John’s funeral arrangements and information for donations are listed below. Thank you all for your support. Please keep John and his family in your prayers.

Checks can be made out to the above mentioned accounts at either branch.

4 South Street
Ortonville, MI 48462

8055 Ortonville Rd.
Clarkston, MI 48348

Wednesday 10/17/2007:
Candle-light Vigil at Brandon High School, Ortonville, MI 48462 @ 8:00 pm

Thursday 10/18/2007:
Lewis Wint Funeral Home, Clarkston, MI, 48462
Visitation 3pm - 9pm
Prayer service at 7:00 pm

Friday 10/19/2007:
Funeral Service at St. Anne’s in Ortonville, MI, 48462 @ 11:00 am.

It is tragic when someone dies. Even more so when that person is so young. My prayers go out to the family and friends at this deeply sad time.

My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends and to team RUSH. It greatly saddens me whenever someone passes away, especially at such a young and tender age.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

On behalf of Team 2331, IMPI Robotics, please accept our condolences on your loss. Our thoughts and prayers will be with your team and John’s family.

On behalf of Team 47 Chief Delphi we would like to offer our condolences to Johns family, friends and also Team 27. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

I’m sorry for your loss. That’s so sad when young people pass, or older people for that matter. My prayers go out to all of you and his family.

Please pass a long our thoughts and prayers to Team Rush and John’s family.

Condolences to John’s family and friends. Chuck 84’s thoughts and prayers are with you all.

No words are adequate to fully express Team 236’s condolences on John’s passing. Let his life, although too short, serve as an inspiration to others.

Thank you for posting all the information for the CD community and also for the wonderful photo of John. My thoughts are with all of you and with his family.


On Behalf of Team 250, myself, and my family, we are very sad to here of this loss. Our prayers our with John’s family and friends

So young…so much potential lost…

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends

I am very sorry to hear about this. I will most definitely keep his friends and family in my prayers.

From me…

*Why must the young be cut down so unjustly?
Why fate must, cruelly, be so?
He could have changed world history-
But now we’ll never know.

The epitaphs, the speeches
never are able to show
what we really need to tell them
when Death beckons and we go.

Hells, we tempt the gods of Risk and Chance
just walking out our doors!
What can we do, in the scheme of things
to alter our life’s course?

The world cannot hope to heal
the wounds of friends of our dead ones,
but I still pray, at Judgement come,
again we see our daughters and sons.*

And on behalf of my former team, TEMPEST 240 Robotics, may you stay strong in the weeks to come.

No Day But Today,
Jeremy Marr
Renthead, Parisian peasant
Team 240 TEMPEST Robotics

Please know that the thoughts and prayers of Team 306 are with RUSH and John’s family. If there’s anything we can do at all, please let me know.

On behalf of frc 457 we give our deepest thos to u and give the best wishes to u and ur team

On behalf of team 1002 and team 2515 i send our prayers. It is very hard losing a friend at this age, just not right. But i have found that our team came together in the mist if tragidy just a few weeks ago.

I’m very sorry for your loss.

Please accept team 25’s heartfelt condolences. Our team suffered a similar tragedy last December. We lost one of our alumni last Christmas Eve. Our sincere sympathy goes out to both his family and the team.

On the behalf of Team Resistance (86), we send our humblest condolences to the family and friends in this tragic. We also have lost one of our greatest cheerleaders who have cheered for us in the past 8+ years.

-Josh Simpson