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'Torin lived for others': Funeral held for 2019 MAHS grad Dworchak

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/16/19

Loved ones remember Torin Dworchak's love of singing, fashion and others.

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'Torin lived for others': Funeral held for 2019 MAHS grad Dworchak

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Torin Dworchak loved to sing.

So much so that his mother, Heather Bernola, said in a letter read during Torin’s funeral that she knows that Torin is in heaven, “singing with the angels and telling them how they can change up the song to make it better.”

That thought evoked laughter from many of the roughly 250 people who gathered for Torin’s funeral held at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on North Spring Street in Middletown on Monday.

He sang all the time, said the Rev. Paul Anderson, who read the letter from Torin’s mother and who gave the eulogy at the funeral.

“He could turn any sentence into a song. What a wonderful attribute,” Anderson said. “He could joke and laugh and cheer people up when they were down.”

Torin’s mother in her letter noted that although Torin was bullied, he didn’t let that get him down.

“You were amazing,” she said in the letter. “Even through your struggles of being bullied you were still positive and happy.”

Anderson also noted Torin’s sense of fashion. That was even referred to in Torin’s obituary, which noted how Torin “always had to look his best, with a flashy style and a million pairs of shoes.”

At the front of the sanctuary displayed on an easel was a large version of a photo that ran in the Press & Journal of Torin at the high school prom, wearing shades and a black and gold suit.

“No wonder he took a job working at Ralph Lauren,” Anderson said. “He wanted to know what was first off the shelf.”

A large number of classmates, including those who graduated with Torin from Middletown Area High School in 2019, were in attendance.

Many of them wore red T-shirts bearing Torin’s name. Red was Torin’s favorite color.

Students are also asking that people who go to the next Blue Raider home football game against Steelton-Highspire on Friday night also wear red in Torin’s honor.

Torin was buried 11 days after his body was found shortly after 7 a.m. on the grounds near the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

City police have charged two Harrisburg men, Nathaniel Gabri Acevedo and Tyrese Randolph, with robbing and killing Dworchak in the city on the night of Sept. 4.

Just a few hours before the start of Monday’s service for Torin, Acevedo was taken into custody by U.S. marshals in Nashville, Tennessee, where officials said he had fled after a warrant for his arrest was put out on Sept. 11. Randolph was already in custody.

Anderson told those gathered he couldn’t even try to make sense for them of “the senseless tragedy” of Torin’s death.

“If I could I would say some magic formula that could make the pain go away … but there is no magic formula,” Anderson said.

He sought to console those in attendance by reading multiple passages from the Bible. He also asked that those in the pews give thanks for Torin’s life, and learn from the example he set.

Anderson noted that even though Torin himself was bullied, “he did not treat other people the same way. It was not in his nature.”

“If this experience doesn’t do anything else, it reminds us of how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken from us,” Anderson said. “Torin lived for others. We can learn from his life and from his death that life is precious. It’s a gift that we have.”

Teachers remember Torin

In the days before Torin’s funeral, two teachers who had him in their classes at Middletown Area High School remembered Torin as an outgoing “people person” who seemed to get along with everybody.

“He always had a positive energy about himself. He almost always had a smile on his face,” said Dale Shreiner, who had Torin his entire senior year in Shreiner’s government and economics class.

Toward the end of the year Torin and the other seniors gave presentations about what they planned to do after graduation.

Torin was interested in becoming a Realtor. Shreiner thinks he would have been good at it since he was “very personable.”

“He had looked into it, he seemed like he knew what he wanted to do. He seemed excited about it and he was very articulate in his delivery,” Shreiner said.

Art teacher Liz Strite had Torin in her class every day during his senior year.

Torin had posted videos of himself singing hit songs on YouTube. He had a talent and a charisma that was evolving.

He had the confidence to “put himself out there,” Strite said, the confidence to be himself. Not everyone could do that, Strite said.

She would see Torin frequently “checking himself” on his smart phone, to see how he looked in the videos he had posted.

“I would have to tell him to put it down,” Strite said of the phone. “He could have had (his own) reality show. I told him that all the time.”

He wasn’t the kind of student who sat in the back and faded into the woodwork.

“He was always singing and you always knew he was in here. He had a big personality,” Strite said. Torin made her laugh.

Strite said she didn’t know of Torin being bullied, although she added that in today’s world, bullying often occurs on social media so it’s not so obvious to the observer on the surface.

Strite said as far as she could see, Torin got along with everybody.

Students could sit in her class with whomever they wanted. Towards the end of his senior year, Strite noticed that Torin sat with a couple of student-athletes in her class.  They were the kind of students Torin might not ordinarily hang out with outside of class, but that was who he was, Strite said.

And while his YouTube videos and the sharp way Torin dressed may have set him apart from other students, the way he mixed with other students wasn’t that unusual for a kid growing up in Middletown, Strite said.

“Middletown is kind of like that. It’s very diverse,” she said. “You do have to get along with a lot of different kids, because it is small and you can’t hide too much.”