HARRITY, Nicholas D.
Nicholas DeMaio Harrity, 31, died unexpectedly Wednesday, (August 7, 2013), at his apartment in Middletown, CT, nine months after the passing of his little brother, John, whom he loved deeply and missed daily.
Born in Hartford on November 20, 1981, Nicholas grew up on Linnmoore Street in the South End of Hartford, attending Kennelly School, and Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon, graduating from Watkinson School in Hartford in 1999, and going on to study at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.
Nick faced overwhelming struggles in the second half of his life, with a courage and tenacity that humbled all those who cared for him. Anyone who had the good fortune to know Nick, knew his sweet and loving personality. His kindness, intelligence, creativity and love of family and friends always came through, despite the torments of his mental illness.
Nick was an avid and skilled writer, painter and photographer - hundreds of his photographs can be viewed under his name at www.picasa.com. He loved meeting people and was likely to strike up a conversation with the stranger standing next to him on any occasion. He believed in the power of working people, and was proud of his namesake, Ernie DeMaio, a great trade unionist and one of the founders of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Nicholas endured many periods of hospitalization and challenges in his life, and, though the concerns of family members and friends could be irritating, he never lost sight of the love that those concerns represented.
Most of all, Nick, the oldest of three red-heads, loved his sister Caitlin Buchanan Harrity, 28, and his brother, John (aka Johnny) Bascom Buchanan Harrity, who also passed away suddenly last November, one week before his 22nd birthday, a loss that Nick mourned beyond imagining.
Together with his sister, Nicholas is survived by his mother, Linda Buchanan of Hartford, and her partner, Richard Dobratz of Coventry; father, John Harrity and wife, Cindy of Hartland; his grandmothers Sharon Buchanan of Portland and Eileen Harrity of Stratford; and much-loved aunts and uncles, Kathi Buchanan and Yun Moh, Seattle, WA, Joseph Buchanan and wife, Catherine, Yakima, WA, Mary-Kathryn Harrity, Norwalk, Patricia (Harrity) Nicholas and husband, Dave, New Milford, Alyce (Harrity) Pine and husband, Steve, Flower Mound, TX; and cousins, Maggie, Laurie and Michael Buchanan, Jade Buchanan-Moh, Caroline Nicholas Marquez and husband, Roberto, and Kevin Nicholas and wife, Catherine; and close friends, especially his life-long friend, Aaron Cloutier, Caitlin's friend, Justin Doyle, as well as his many friends, including Kerry, Tigger, Brendan, Troy, Dave W, Stephen - you know who you are... so many who loved him, no matter what.
Nick was predeceased by his brother, John; grandfathers B. Frank Buchanan and John Harrity; and uncle, Michael Buchanan.
Nicholas believed in the endurance of spirit, and looked forward to being re-united with his brother, John. It would, if so, be a source of great joy to all who knew and loved them. We know that Nick would be lifted from his burden of illness, healed in mind, as well as spirit...Nick and Johnny both had hearts as big as stars.
A service in memory of Nick will be held Saturday, August 17, at 12 p.m. at Dillon-Baxter Funeral Home, 1276 Berlin Turnpike, Wethersfield, CT 06109, www.dillonbaxter.com. Calling hours will precede the service, from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. A reception following the service will be held at Casa Mia Ristorante, 381 Franklin Ave, Hartford.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to either of two deserving causes - to help those among us, like Nick, who deserve to live independently in the community, with contributions to Gilead Community Services, 222 Main St. Ext, P.O. Box 1000, Middletown, CT 06457 (write "Memory of Nick Harrity" in the memo section); or, to support the placement of memorial boulders as part of the "Memorial Reflection Project," a space for meditation and reflection being created by John's Class of 2008 at Watkinson School, in honor of his brother, John, and John's friend, Tyler Wisser, who pre-deceased him. To contribute to this project, which will include a boulder with a plaque in memory of both brothers, write "John Harrity Memorial" in the memo section, and send to Watkinson School, 180 Bloomfield Ave., Hartford, CT 06105.
Nick joined Johnny in setting a high bar for the rest of us. Now we must all learn from them, to walk through the world with compassion, love, courage, and commitment to the struggle for social justice. Thank you, sweet Nick. Not goodbye, but see you later... Namaste.
"He could hear the night sky speaking and all we could see were airplanes and satellites." (Last lines from "Schizophrenia, for My Brother" by John Harrity, 2006)