BERKELEY - There were tears. There was laughter. There was inspiration. There were memories.
Pre-Med Ted touched people in a lot of ways during his life, so it was only fitting that there was a wide spectrum of emotions and reactions at the beautiful candlelight service held in the honor of Ted Agu on Wednesday night.
Over 1,000 people congregated at Lisa And Douglas Goldman Plaza adjacent to California Memorial Stadium to share memories of Agu, the former Cal football player who tragically passed away Friday at the age of 21. In a wonderful service planned and ran by Agu’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brothers as well as Cal student-athletes, Agu was remembered as a young man who inspired those around him while daring to dream big himself.
“I’m really going to miss Ted because he was one of the first people I met when I came to Cal,” Cal running back Jeffrey Coprich said. “He was somebody I looked up to because when I got to Cal I didn’t think I was going to be able to succeed as far as school. Ted was guiding us, the young freshmen that came in. By looking up to him, you knew you could be successful. Ted helped out everybody and anybody that needed help. He really had a big impact on my life.”
Several of Agu’s fraternity brothers, teammates, student-athletes from other sports and others took turns sharing memories and inspirations during an open mic segment of the service that touched all in attendance. Many struggled to come up with the right words to describe Agu – “It’s hard to describe a person that was indescribable” – while others emphasized his unwavering positive demeanor and impact he had on all those around him.
“He was a remarkable man and you don’t summarize a man like Ted with words,” Cal football coach Sonny Dykes said. “The only way you can do it is with deeds. When you live a life as big as Ted lived, you create a legacy that’s even bigger. Thank you Ted for giving us a lesson. It’s a painful one. Thank you for teaching us what it’s like to be a man and do our best. We’re all so honored to be here to celebrate his life.”
Gatherers to the plaza were shown a slideshow of Ted that showcased the many different and admiral sides to his life and personality. Soccer player Emi Lawson announced a banner of Agu will be hung outside Memorial Stadium. At the end of the service, everyone holding a candle placed it on the glass railing that borders the plaza.
“Our collective hearts go out to his family and all that were touched by him,” Cal Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “I have heard a lot of stories over the last few days about Ted, and what I heard embedded in each and every one of them was that Ted made everyone he touched better. We’re better for having known Ted Agu.”
The final guests of the podium were Agu’s three sisters. Ted’s older sister, Cindy, was sincerely awed and grateful by the turnout and heartfelt stories about her brother. But she also had a message for everyone that Ted touched.
“No more crying,” she said. “Ted would never want any of you to cry.”
Because, as another speaker put it Wednesday night: “Teddy Agu brought joy.”
For those wishing to join the conversation about Ted, visit the Facebook page labeled “Candlelight Service For Ted Agu.”