‘Thank you for the laughter’: Remembering Jack Koval

The 22-year-old Emory graduate was tragically killed in a car accident on Sunday

Class of 2016  Emory graduate Jack Koval passed away after being struck by a vehicle in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City early Sunday morning. He was 22-years-old.

Jack, a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, was one of the first members of the Emory Entrepreneurship & Venture Management Club (EE&VM) at Emory. He graduated with majors in Finance and Maths from Emory’s Goizueta Business School and was a key contributor in starting HackATL.

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I am among those people who had the pleasure of knowing Jack personally. I first met him at the AKPsi fraternity rush, and then I had the pleasure of working with him as an executive board member of EE&VM. I remember him being one of the sweetest and most helpful people during rush, and he even interviewed me later on. One of the best memories I have of him, is about how excited he would get every time I would tell him that I was in New Delhi over holidays.

He loved the city for it’s food and culture and always spoke about how he would love to return to visit me in India someday. Every time he saw me on campus, he would take time to speak with me for a bit and then head to wherever he was going. He always greeted me with a cheerful hello and was helpful when I asked for help chosing Business school professors. I can’t believe he’s gone, and I am so glad that I got to know him. Rest in Peace Jack. Missing you very much.

Below are tribute messages and memories from a few of his closest peers:

Rachel Hastings, 23, Jack’s cousin, Chili, New York

“Below is the most recent picture of the cousin club. There were six of us originally and then spouses and children were added. I have also included my all time favorite picture of just Jack and I when we were young. I am 23 and we both grew up in Chili, NY.

“I have very few memories of my childhood without Jack in them, but a favorite has to be our sleepovers at his house. We would lay in bed and Jack would have me read him a book of politically correct fairy tales, which were so inappropriate for our age. We wwould laugh so hard and he would have me read until he fell asleep.

“I want to thank Jack for being my buddy. As kids, we spent every waking moment together. My brothers and I weren’t allowed to speak if Jack was eating because we always made him laugh so hard that food came out of his nose. We had our own language that we would use to plot against others. Later, we made our own religion. We were going to get married because everyone else had cooties and we would live in a circular house with no stairs, so we could never get timeouts. Jack was always smart and always able to talk to other people. He is my opposite in so many ways but he had so many diverse interests that we never ran out of things we had in common. We never stopped being friends and I will never be whole again. I love you. Aquaman.”

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Sarah Choi, 22, Emory Class of 2016, Former President of EEVM

“Jack, you missed our brunch on Sunday but I want you to know that I still went & you were right – that place was really cool. I just really wish you made it too because I never got to properly thank you for being my knight in shining armor and helping me move in while I was having a really rough first day in NYC with four giant bags and a broken phone.

“Thank you for being an amazing friend, for explaining math theorems to me so I could (barely) pass our classes, for constantly inspiring me with your brilliant mind and curiosity, for being so passionate about everything you do, and for leaving me nothing but happy memories with you. I’m still waiting for you to show up with your guitar, singing a song I’ve never heard of and drinking a beer I’ve never tried before. I am lucky to have known you and I can only aspire to be half the person you were. I love you so much. Rest in peace.”

“Jack made us that reservation at the brunch place after researching all the restaurant week places (typical Jack..) so we can celebrate since I had just gotten back from Toronto on Saturday. He was so thoughtful till the end & he was excited to try the place.”

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Florence Lo, 19, Brother at AKPsi fraternity

“I don’t even know how to begin… Jack, the first time I met you, you were dressed in a chicken suit and upon meeting you, you immediately brought a smile to my face. Though I’ve only been privileged to know you for one short year, I can honestly say that you’ve made this year all the better. You are one of the most intellectually curious, genuine, and humble people I know and it saddens me that you have left us so soon.

“I remember each and every one of our conversations, as you always left me so inspired and in awe of how one could be so intellectually capable and so caring no matter what. I’m so lucky to have met you and my thoughts go out to you and your family. Thank you for the laughter and the good times, Jack. Rest in peace, you will be missed by us all.

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Our thoughts and condolences are with Jack’s friends and family at this time.

Rest in peace, Jack.

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