Life has changed not ended

Alexander Thomas Aurrichio

1 February 1990 – 8 June 2020

Author: Tom Fields, Alex’s best friend

Alexander Thomas Aurrichio, a person we all came to love and cherish, touched the lives of many during his journey from New York to Australia.

To Alexander’s parents, Lou and Jill, and his four siblings John, Michael, Jillian and Christopher and all his extended family, I wish you all peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.  Alex was loved, respected, and admired in Australia and I want to thank you for giving us the gift of one of the greatest people that many of us have ever met.

Alexander Thomas Aurrichio grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island, just outside of New York with his parents and family.  He attended Half Hollow Hills West High School and was a standout in three sports; basketball, baseball, and soccer.  Due to his immense desire to succeed, Alex was awarded Suffolk County’s top scholar athlete.  He was a king, even in high school.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Alex represented Columbia University, a division one Ivy League College in not one, but two sports; baseball and soccer.  Again, Alex excelled in each sport, however, as exceptional as Alex was on the field, it was his character off the field that people admired and respected him for.  His soccer coach stated “his personality and smile were even larger than he was – he got the most out of every day and everyone.”

When Alex came to Australia, many people shared his life here.  Sue, Rohan and the Waratah Football Club provided the support, generosity, strength and leadership to Alex and to those of us who mourn his loss.  His first home away from home was Melbourne, and that’s where I met him at the Northern Blues Football Club.  In Melbourne he lived with Joel and Nicci Daniher and their daughter Addison.  He would often speak fondly about his time in Melbourne and how much he appreciated and cared for the entire Daniher family.  Melbourne held a special place in his heart, as it was the beginning of his adventure, exploring Australia.

After spending two years in Melbourne, playing with the Northern Blues Football Club, he made the move to Adelaide at the start of 2017, signing a contract with the South Adelaide Football Club.  If there were two things Alex cherished most during his time in Adelaide they were the friendships he made and the adventures he experienced.

The start of 2019 saw Alex move to the Gold Coast and sign with the Southport Sharks.  Yet again, he impacted every single person he encountered and had the ability to make people better.

Alex’s final destination was Darwin.  It gives me great peace knowing that Darwin was where Alexander Aurrichio was at his absolute happiest.  In a conversation I had with Alex, he spoke passionately about the fun he was having, the amazing people he had met and the adventures he had been on.  It is a testament to everyone in Darwin who played a role in Alex’s happiness.

To spend the last five years with Alex, or as we liked to call him, ‘Rooch’, and to be by his side in three out of the four states he lived in has been a blessing and something that I will be forever grateful for.  I honestly felt very lucky to have had his friendship and it gives me great peace knowing it didn’t take losing him to realise this.  His work ethic, resilience, strength, discipline, passion and sheer will to succeed were what made him excel as an elite athlete.

However, it was what Alex did away from the playing field that impressed all who met him.  His kindness and respect for others, along with his positivity, larger-than-life energy and his strong family values would have made any parent proud.  His genuine care for others and his ability to know when to call or text was second to none.  The way he could strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and his ability to walk into a room and instantly make everyone smile was part of the warmth we all admired in him.  He was a giver.  He loved to coach, mentor and influence, which was fitting as he had such a gift with children.  He brought people together and captivated his audience, whether that be through an intelligent and insightful discussion or by yelling out one of his favourite catch phrases.

Alex had the gift to enter into someone’s life for a brief moment and make them feel happier, safer and better about themselves.  ‘Rooch’ excelled in every state he lived in, and in each place he succeeded as an athlete and grew as a person.

Alex’s smile was the smile that I will hold close to me for the rest of my life.

Delivered at Alex’s funeral service on Monday, 22 June 2020 at St Mary’s Star of the Sea War Memorial Cathedral in Darwin.

Life has changed not ended

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Mike Lescai

Tom, an inspiring story among sadness. Thank you for sharing.

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