Middle School student passes away aged 12 Unexpectedly

On January 5, 2023, tragedy struck the Marlboro Middle School community as they mourned the loss of 12-year-old student David Pakula. His untimely passing was confirmed via a GoFundMe page established by a family friend with the intention of providing financial support to his grieving parents, Monika and Darek, as well as his brothers.

Although the specific cause of David’s death remained undisclosed at the time, it was noted on the fundraiser page that he passed away from unknown causes on a Friday.

Edyta Rusznica took the initiative to create the GoFundMe campaign, which aimed to reach a target amount of $30,000. The response from the community was overwhelming, with donations pouring in, and the fundraiser rapidly accumulated over $29,000 in support. Rusznica passionately called upon individuals to contribute and demonstrate their solidarity with David’s family, including his brothers Patrick and Alex.

The GoFundMe page also included a description explaining that they decided to initiate the fundraiser in response to numerous inquiries from people willing to help. The collected funds were intended to provide assistance to the Pakula family during this challenging time and to contribute to David’s funeral expenses.

In addition to the financial support, David Pakula’s friends joined forces to commemorate his memory in various ways. One of his friends, Connor Starfaci, initiated a Change.org petition to advocate for the establishment of a memorial in David’s name at Marlboro Middle School. In the petition, Connor expressed his admiration for David’s personality, describing him as a wonderful and humorous individual who left a lasting impression. The petition, which began on January 7, 2024, had garnered 256 signatures within a short span, accompanied by an outpouring of love and condolences for the beloved young boy.

Connor, who had the pleasure of meeting David in a Spanish class the previous year, shared that the goal of the petition was to ensure that David’s memory lived on in the hearts of those who knew him. He fondly recalled their shared moments of fun and laughter, expressing his hope that David would find peace beyond this world.

Another friend, Gabriel Litt, expressed his deep sorrow over David’s passing and emphasized how David’s kindness had touched the lives of many in the community. Having known David since second grade, Gabriel attested to his exceptional character, describing him as a remarkably kind person. He wished David a peaceful journey to heaven, surrounded by the love and affection of those who held him dear.

On Facebook, Olga Verbetska, the mother of one of David’s friends, eulogized him as a brilliantly bright and active young boy. She reminisced about David’s friendship with her son and emphasized his remarkable qualities, labeling him a “shining light.” She conveyed the profound loss experienced by everyone who had the privilege of knowing and loving him.

To honor David Pakula’s memory, his family announced that funeral services would be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2023, at 11 am. The service is scheduled to take place at St. Gabriel’s Main Church in Marlboro, New Jersey, located at 100 N Main St. This final farewell is an opportunity for the community to come together and pay their respects to a young life taken too soon, but one that left an indelible mark of love and kindness.