Special Reports

Life lost too soon

In his 18 years, those who knew Joseph Dado say he lived his life touching people with his talents and humor.

Well-liked by everyone, Dado was a funny kid, always smiling, always happy, and always sprinting around from one activity to another.

“He was just always energetic and moving to get things done on time,” said Georgia Teppert, principal of Greater Latrobe Senior High School, from which Dado graduated from just months before coming to Penn State.

He was the captain of the soccer team, a kicker for the football team, ran track and participated in various clubs, all the while earning straight A’s in advanced classes.

“He appeared to be driven, had goals in athletics and academics and just gave 100 percent in whatever he was involved in,” said Assistant Principal Chad Krehlik.

Saturday, his former team’s soccer match will be dedicated to Dado.

“I sat right beside him in study hall,” said Trevor Shaffer, now a senior at the Pittsburgh-area high school who is using Facebook to organize an event in Dado’s honor that will help the family pay for funeral arrangements. “Every Friday night he’d go to the basketball game. One time ... he wore this cereal box, made of cardboard. It was probably one of the most funny things.”

Dado was found dead Monday after falling 15 feet from a ledge into an exterior concrete stairway on Penn State’s campus. He had been missing 39 hours and was found 75 yards from the fraternity he was last seen leaving around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Dado spent just four weeks at Penn State but had made so many connections that hundreds of people gathered in support when his body was found Monday evening.

“There’s a real sense of sadness that you can find all over campus today,” university spokesman Bill Mahon said Tuesday. “People who knew this young man and many more that did not who feel terrible about what’s occurred here. It has had a big impact on the student body.”

Groups on Facebook memorializing Dado, showing support for friends and family and discussing memorial plans were nearing 11,000 members Tuesday afternoon.

Many of the posts began, “I didn’t know Joe, but ...” He had two sisters who also attend Penn State.

Shaffer said students at Dado’s high school are reeling from the news.

Some of Dado’s former classmates came back to the school Tuesday morning to participate in a moment of silence with the 1,100 current students, including Dado’s younger sister.

“I mean, I remember yesterday when I had come back to the computer and saw on Facebook that everybody was like, R.I.P.,” Shaffer said. The last time they’d talked, he was planning to visit Dado for a Penn State game. “I was like, no way, no way ... they found him and I didn’t know what to think. I was seriously just in shock for the whole night.”

“It’s not really what everyone expects,” he said. “We all expected to find him OK, be home with his family.” Those who knew Joseph Dado say he was an energetic young man, a diligent student and the life of the room. Sign a guest book in memory of Joseph Dado at www.ThisisLionCountry.com.

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