Spencer R. Trusz, 25, Web designer, avid learner

June 19, 2005|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF

Spencer Ryan Trusz, a Web site designer whose diverse interests ranged from ancient Rome to Star Trek to world peace, died Wednesday at his home in Glen Burnie after a two-year bout with brain cancer. He was 25.

A young man who thought deeply about the suffering and sacrifices of others, Mr. Trusz spent Memorial Day writing letters of thanks to all the military veterans he knew and to his godparents, who belonged to an international peace movement.

"He spent a lot of time thinking about justice and injustice in the world," said his sister, Nicole Pekarske of Glen Burnie.

Mr. Trusz, who received his treatments at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, baked French bread for the palliative care team, a group of doctors and nurses who strive to alleviate the pain and discomfort of ailing patients. One day, he brought a can of spray oil to the hospital to quiet a squeaking door that was annoying patients and staff.

He spent the first 10 years of his life in his birthplace of Memphis, Tenn., before his family relocated to Glen Burnie. He was a graduate of Old Mill High School in Millersville, and attended the University of Maryland, College Park.

After leaving school, he put his lifelong love of computer electronics to work, designing Web sites for nonprofits such as the Epilepsy Foundation of America and Scenic Rivers Land Trust, his sister said.

He also built computers for friends and family members, purchasing the parts at trade shows and then assembling them in the family home. "He'd buy the components at cost and save people huge amounts of money," she said.

His interests ranged far beyond electronics.

"He was very interested in science and the future and the ancient past, especially ancient Rome," Ms. Pekarske said. "He was a tremendous reader and philosopher type, sort of a Renaissance man in many ways."

After he was found to have brain cancer, Mr. Trusz decided it was important to pack in as much knowledge and experience as he could in the time that remained. He resumed his education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"It was very important for him to do something productive with his time," his sister said.

His best friend, Clinton Santos of Glen Burnie, met him nine years ago at a local meeting of Star Trek enthusiasts. "He was very much into science fiction and fantasy, and was very knowledgeable and mature for his age," he said.

Mr. Santos recalled that the last time his friend went to the hospital, Mr. Trusz insisted that his sister call him to remind him about another friend's birthday party. "My God, he was in the hospital fighting for his life and he wanted to make sure I knew when the birthday party was," he said.

"Even at the end, he was more concerned with everybody else's feelings than his own condition," he said. "You could see the pain and everything else in his eyes. He'd try not to show it, and talk as if tomorrow were just another day."

Mr. Trusz donated his eyes to the Maryland Eye Bank and his body to the Maryland Anatomy Board, making it available for research and education.

A funeral is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 DuBois Road.

In addition to his sister, he is survived by his parents, Andrew Trusz and Sandra Parks-Trusz of Glen Burnie, and his grandmother, Doris Parks of Hudson, Fla.

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