Nathaniel G. Tencza, 41, died on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at Hartford Hospital after a traumatic brain injury. Born on January 26, 1977, he was the son of Robert V. and Cynthia (Chabot) Tencza.
Nate graduated valedictorian from Platt High School, class of 1995. He participated in a myriad of activities: lettered in three sports, swimming, indoor track and, his first love, soccer. Nate was active in several stage productions, president of Key Club, Student Senate, Youth and Government and was a prominent member of the A cappella singing group “Noteworthy” his Senior Year.
Nate graduated cum laude from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, class of 1999, with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. While at W&L, he furthered his A cappella involvement with the men’s group “Southern Comfort”. He took his bumps and bruises playing club rugby all four years, and was a member of the 250thanniversary committee.
Nate was a man of many talents; he could organize, solve seemingly insurmountable problems, was not afraid to be a public speaker or write grants as is evidenced by the Elks Grand Lodge recently awarding the Beacon Grant and Anniversary Grant to Meriden Elks. From very early on, he cultivated his artistic ability. Whether in pencil, pen and ink, various paint modes or sculpture, his work showed an innate creative ability.
Nate was an active member of Meriden Elks Lodge #35 where he was a past Officer of the Year, trustee and chairman of the annual Soccer Shoot. His brother Elk Steve wrote: “He was passionate about helping children and adults with special needs and disabilities. To name a few, he strongly supported the Nerden RTC Camp, Special Olympics Tri-Town and High Hopes. He spent many days and hours volunteering to chair and support many lodge events, as well as updating and maintaining our Lodge. If someone was in need, Nate would be the first to lend a helping hand or organize a solution. He was caring and generous in all that he did, wholeheartedly. His smile and wit brought laughter and touched everyone around him. Nate was a gentleman and held the utmost integrity and sincerity with every ounce of his being. Nate will be greatly missed.”
Nate’s friend, Tim, writing about an episodic adventure, wrote: “And as I’ve been going through all the Nate memories I have in my head the last couple days, this one has stuck with me because this was the Nate experience. If you needed help, he was always there. But dammit, you were going to get a story out of it., whether you wanted one or not. Thank you, Nate for always being there. I’ve never known anyone who took more joy in helping the people he let into his heart, and I couldn’t have been luckier to be one of them. And, thank you for never not making it interesting”
Gretchen, Nate’s sister, wrote:
“The only thing Nate loved more than being a brother was being an uncle. Sawyer adored his Uncle Nate and always greeted him with smiles and laughter.
My brother passed away on tragically on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Sawyer became a big brother.
… thank you for all the love and support over the past few days, and over the days to come. Our family and friends are incredible. It is so helpful, yet so hard, to read how many people truly knew Nate’s genuine heart, and how he took care of others, often before taking care of himself. He was so looking forward to meeting his new nephew, and it’s so difficult to know that in one way, my family is complete, yet it is also broken. I may not respond to every post, picture or message, but please know that I do read them, and appreciate them. Just know that as you struggle with mixed emotions for our family, the most important one is love.”
Besides his parents, Nate is survived by his sister, Gretchen C. and her husband Spencer J. Yatzook, and his nephews, Sawyer Coe and Callan Nathaniel Yatzook. He also leaves behind an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Nate was pre-deceased by grandparents Walter F. and Anna (Gonet) Tencza, Allyn D. and Edith (Lucchini) Chabot and uncle Allyn S. Chabot. Beyond his family, Nate had friends whose children enjoyed “Uncle Nate” and his tireless interest and affection.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life Service to be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 3 p.m. at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450. Family and friends may call prior to the service from 12 to 3 p.m. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the John J. Nerden RTC Camp, P.O. Box 2617, Meriden, CT 06451 or to Special Olympics Tri-Town Track and Field, c/o Keith Lombardo, 240 Sunset Ave., Meriden, CT 06450.
Nate will be deeply missed by his family, friends and feline companions Rusty, Vibby and Siren. Nate always cared for others, and his final act of kindness was the gift of life. Within twenty- four hours, two peoples’ lives were changed because of his selfless act.. Please consider registering as an organ donor in Nate’s honor at New England Donor Services (neds.org). For online condolences and directions, please visit www.jferryfh.com