Campus Freshman commanded attention with comedy, kindness

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:00 am

By JAKE SOHN Campus Editor

There are certain people you pass by and they make a huge impression on you, because even though they don’t know your name, they know who you are. Marty was one of those people.

Martin Bergquist, a freshman in the College of Engineering, loved math and science, but he also loved theater. Bergquist attended Homestead High School in Mequon, Wis., before coming to Purdue. His theatrical life came to an end when he was found dead in his room at First Street Towers; the cause of his death is still undetermined.

At Homestead, he was involved in the drama club (as the co-president), forensics club, robotics team and varsity cross country team. As a well-rounded student, he had no trouble making friends there. It was the drama club where Bergquist quickly found his niche. Even though he wasn’t good with names and called his drama teacher “the theater teacher” for two years, Homestead’s drama teacher remembers Bergquist quite profoundly.

Amelia Figg-Franzoi, theater director of Homestead High School, said her favorite performance of Bergquist was his portrayal of Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“He was so physical and funny chasing after Helena and fighting his best friend,” Figg-Franzoi said. “Marty has played a wide range of characters from lovesick puppy, conman to story teller, slightly robotic man and a captain of a pirate ship.”

The drama club of Homestead took the news of Bergquist’s death especially hard, because everyone who knew him had his smile ingrained in their memories.

“He is the nicest student I have ever had, and one of the strangest,” Figg-Franzoi said. “Who loves math and science and theater? He probably didn’t know your name, but he knew who you were.”

Anthony Navarre, a teacher at Homestead, said Bergquist made sure to leave everyone he met with a smile.

“He would practice story telling in my classroom, and when he memorized George Carlin skits, we would roll on the floor laughing so hard,” Navarre said. “As a sophomore, he would sit between two seniors during study hall and help them with their math, and would be very patient with them.”

At the young age of 18, Bergquist left a legacy – a legacy that is filled with laughter and kindness. Figg-Franzoi said even though Homestead is still grieving, they will move on with Bergquist in mind.

“This week, everyone has shared a little story to help shape the picture of Marty,” Figg-Franzoi said. “If you did something wrong, he would fix it himself, but not give you grief about it. Martin Bergquist inspired us all and truly lived life to the fullest. We are still reeling, but he still lives in us and in the theater.”

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