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Wagner College Mourns Loss Of Longtime Chaplain

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Faculty and Staff at Wagner College are mourning the loss of their longtime chaplain, who died this weekend after being struck by an SUV. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner has more on the life and legacy of Rev. Lyle Guttu.

“Just one of those special people that you run into once in your life,” said assistant football coach at Wagner Mark Collins.

“He’s so missed and will be so missed because you rarely find people of this quality,” added Wagner College President Richard Gurasci.

“He was someone we could always count on. It's a great loss,” added another faculty member.

Those are just a few of many sentiments expressed on campus as news of the death of Reverend Guttu spread through the Wagner College Community.

The 71-year-old was struck by a car on Saturday afternoon. He died the following day.

Faculty and staff gathered Monday to share what was meant to be their holiday luncheon. Instead, they shared tears and stories of the man who lived and worked at Wagner for 35 years, serving as chaplain under six different presidents, and at one time holding the position of dean of students.

“His door was always open to everyone. Anyone could go and talk to Lyle, whether you were a college president or a lowly freshmen, Lyle was there for you,” said Wagner College Professor Walter Kelper.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Forest and Bement Avenues. According to sources on campus the reverend was out Christmas shopping when he was struck by the SUV.

“It just doesn't seem fair and we lost him way too soon. No question about it,” said Collins.

So far no charges have been filed, although police say the case is open and being investigated. After performing an autopsy, the medical examiner has ruled the death an accident, caused by the impact of the crash.

With his friends and colleagues still in shock, few formal words were said Monday. However more ceremonies and services will be held later this week, with plans for a more permanent memorial to be discussed in the near future.

“We will try to memorialize Lyle and everything he meant to us and everything he believed in somewhere on campus, someway, so that he will always live on as part of the campus,” said Gurasci.

— Tara Lynn Wagner
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