Partahi M. Lumbantoruan, a Ph. D. student in civil engineering at Virginia Tech, was calm, caring, and talented. He was known and loved in his neighborhood as someone who was always ready to help others.
A native of Indonesia, he was born on April 26, 1972, and earned his B.S. in 1997 and his master’s degree in 2000, both in civil engineering, at Parahyangan Catholic University.
“Mora,” as he was known to friends and family, came to America in January 2004 to earn his doctorate. He became a member of the geotechnical family at Virginia Tech and of the Indonesian community, which is like a big family. He enjoyed going out for lunch, attending football games, grilling saté for the international street fair, taking road trips, and engaging in spiritual and intellectual discussions. Although he was quiet and shy, he was quick to join in lively political discussions, especially those relating to Indonesian political affairs.
His smile was contagious and he radiated positive energy that attracted friends and cemented his friendships. He loved Virginia Tech and he devoted himself to Tech traditions and the football team.
He was more than a colleague and friend; he was a man who will always be admired for his patience, wisdom, and compassion for others. Whenever his friends were stressed, he was able to put a smile on their faces and help them not to worry about little things. He deeply cared about the happiness of others and faced each day with a positive attitude. He was the type of person who would put others’ needs before his own and was the son, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle, husband, and father everyone should have.
Mora will be missed by all who knew him. His love, his positive energy, his sincerity, and his example will help his family and friends through this pain. Selflessly, in his final moments on earth, he sacrificed his own life to save that of another—a true hero. If Mora were here today he would ask us to keep our chins up and smile. He would want us to gain strength from this tragedy and to live each day to the fullest.
“Rest in peace my brother … you will not be forgotten.”
Hometown: Blacksburg, Virginia (originally from Indonesia)
Ph.D. student, Civil Engineering
Student since fall 2003
Doctor of Philosophy, Civil Engineering
© 2009 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University