The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 9, 2014

Scout’s letter eases pain of grandparents’ loss

JOHNSTOWN — A compassionate letter from a 14-year-old Boy Scout is helping the family of a Scout who died suddenly and who has ties to Johnstown to heal.

Robert Parker Graffius, 15, of Madison, W.Va., died unexpectedly on Dec. 8 of causes that could not immediately be determined.

Parker, as he was known, was the grandson of Joe and Joan Orosz of Westmont and the son of Robb and Gina Graffius, both natives of Johnstown. Mrs. Graffius is the daughter of the Oroszes.

Parker also was the grandson of the late Robert and Margaret Graffius.

The Oroszes said they were impressed and grateful that someone as young as the 14-year-old would take the time to help console the family.

Joan Orosz said her grandson attended a Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia just weeks before his death. He became good friends with the 14-year-old Scout, who lived in Charleston, W.Va., and other Scouts at the event.

Upon returning home, Parker and a friend went hunting with the pair staying at the home of the other boy’s aunt, she said.

After the hunt, Parker took a nap. He passed away in his sleep, she said. Parker’s blood sugar had dropped to a low level for an unexplained reason and Parker went into cardiac arrest, Joan Orosz said.

Parker’s family and friends miss him.

“Parker was priceless,” Joan Orosz said. “He told us often that he was priceless. We found that to be true.

“He was caring and compassionate, and he respected us and his parents.”

She said the letter from the Scout, 14-year-old Robbie Hageboeck, has touched the entire family.

In the letter, Robbie said that he was sorry for the family’s loss and that Parker made a good impression on him.

The letter tells about Parker’s kindness during a zip line ride. Robbie wrote that Parker would wait for him and others to catch up before continuing on the ride. The letter also told about how Parker helped the 14-year-old acquire Boy Scout patches.

“Parker meant a lot to Robbie even though they had just met at the jamboree,” Joan Orosz said.

She said that it is unusual for someone of that age to be so compassionate.

“It (letter) meant a lot to everyone who read it,” she said.

At Parker’s funeral and viewing, Boy Scouts came from everywhere to pay their respects, Joan Orosz, said. Parker’s soccer teammates formed an honor guard at the church, funeral home and cemetery. Parker’s older brother, Joshua, released doves at the cemetery in memory of Parker.

More than $1,000 has been raised in memory of Parker. The money will be used annually for two scholarships for Boy Scouts in Parker’s name.

Parker’s reputation of being priceless was evident in October, when he traveled to Johns-town to race in the Johnstown Marathon in memory of a cousin, Jordann Orosz, who died unexpectedly in 2002 at the age of 15 months.

Parker and Jordann’s father, David Orosz of North Carolina,  raised money for the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program during the race.

In addition to his parents, Joshua and grandparents, Parker is survived by two sisters, Heather Nicole and Samantha Joan Graffius.

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FrankNews10.

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