Law student remembered for kindness, selflessness



When Dominic DeSimone was not in class at the University of Alabama Law School, he could be found working out at the Rec or perhaps helping a friend fix up a failing car. Dominic’s friends and family, who were more likely to call him “Dom,” will always remember his smile and unfailing willingness to lend a hand when someone needed help with an assignment or just a little morale boost.

“I cannot even put into words to describe how amazing and brilliant of a person Dominic was,” Stephanie Ciuzio, a senior at the University and a friend of Dominic’s, said.

Hector Dominic DeSimone passed away Friday night in an accident at the age of 23.

Dominic graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011 and was finishing up his second year of law school at The University of Alabama.

“He was the kind of student that – in the classroom, obviously, he was a very bright, engaging young man, but I think that the thing that his classmates noticed and I noticed was that he was the guy you could always count on,” Mary Ksobiech, assistant dean of students for the law school, said.

Casey Minnes worked with Dominic at the law school’s journal, and the two also studied abroad together last summer in Europe.

“No matter whether you were having your best day or your worst, you could always count on Dominic to be there when you needed anything,” Minnes said. “That is one thing about him that I know none of our friends will be able to ever forget.”

Dominic’s friends say his kindness was matched by an equally infectious sense of humor. Ethan Picone, a second-year law student, said he became friends with Dominic after a mock trial during freshman year in which Dominic played the role of the main defendant, a low-IQ redneck.

“We were pretty nervous on how he, as our main defendant, would act during the trial, but he absolutely nailed it,” Picone said. “If there were Oscars for Mock Trial, Dominic would have won. He showed up in the most ridiculous and completely nonmatching hunting cap, camo vest, boots, and I think jorts, and then went up on the stand and made everyone laugh for the entire time he was up there.”

Picone said it was Dominic’s inviting sense of humor he’ll remember most about his friend.

“No matter what he told me, it was funny, and it always felt like just between him and me,” Picone said. “I’ll miss him for the rest of my life.”

Dominic was also an avid fitness junkie who often made his friends accompany him to the gym, where he acted as their unofficial personal trainer.

“I frequently worked out with him at the gym, and while he obviously spent a lot of time there, I definitely never really had,” Thomas Carter, a friend of Dominic’s, said. “Rather than being condescending, however, he always sought to help me get a good workout.”

While Dominic felt at home at a gym full of weights and equipment, he was not a stranger to tools, engines or faulty machinery.

“Dominic was always very mechanically inclined and sort of became the law school mechanic,” close friend and classmate Joe Heilman said. “We are all poor college kids, so when we had questions, we would always go to him. This year alone I think he worked on five different law students’ cars and wouldn’t let them give him any more money than what it cost to replace the part.”

Heilman said Dominic’s selflessness far surpassed that of most people.

“He was one of the most hospitable people that I had ever met,” Heilman said. “I don’t have Internet or cable at my apartment, and when he found that out, he handed me the extra key to his apartment, no questions asked, and just said, ‘Come over whenever.’”

“He was exactly the kind of friend that everyone wants to have and that everyone tries to be,” Jonathan Mayhall, another friend, said.

When Katie McGuire heard the news of his death, she reached out to another of Dominic’s friends, Seve Gunter and the interim dean of the law school, William Brewbaker, to organize a journal in the lobby of the law school for students and faculty to share their memories of Dominic.

“Even those of us who weren’t really close to him have been touched by his kindness,” McGuire said. “I thought that having some sort of way to show the family just how large of an impact Dom had would be something special for the family.”

“I want people to know that Dominic was a talented, amazing person and had a wonderfully bright future,” Gunter said. “Beyond what was going to be his own personal success, the world lost a man of integrity and someone who cared about everyone he met.”

Dominic’s parents and siblings have asked that, in lieu of flowers, those who wish make donations in Dominic’s name do so to either the International Justice Mission or Gospel For Asia.

“Dominic was the son, brother, grandson and friend that anyone would want to have,” Dominic’s family said in an emailed statement. “He was a man of many abilities and could do anything he set his mind to. God gave him so many talents – he was a wonderful musician, gifted speaker and brilliant thinker. He loved people, traveling and new experiences and could interact with anyone. Dominic was resourceful – he could examine any challenge, diagnose any problem and develop the solution required to overcome it. He was fearless and full of life. He never left us without telling us that he loved us – every phone call, every text, every parting. Our family is broken-hearted but not without hope. We know that Dominic served the Living God while he walked on this earth and is even now rejoicing in heaven, waiting for us to be reunited.”

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