Kyle Janeczek remembered for ability to connect with others

by Abigail Mihaly | 10/31/18 3:15am

A loyal friend and family member to many in his community at home and at Dartmouth, Kyle Janeczek, a second-year student at the Geisel School of Medicine, made an impact on everyone who came in contact with him.

“He made you feel like you were the most important thing in the world,” said Geisel roommate and friend Brent Bates Med’20.

Janeczek, 25, died on Oct. 17, in his home in Norwich.

The Vermont Medical Examiner’s Office has conducted an autopsy but has not released a cause of death.

He was born June 30, 1993 in Passaic, New Jersey, and grew up in Wall Township, a small beach town nearby.

Janeczek was proud of his roots, and remained close with his family and three siblings. 

He worked as a lifeguard at Bay Head Improvement Association in high school and during the summer in college.In his hometown, Janeczek was what his sister Kyra Janeczek called “a local celebrity.” He attended Wall High School, where he played on both the basketball and football teams. Academically, Janeczek was an honors student and president of the math club. He also won the homecoming king title. In a class size of approximately 300 students, Janeczek made an effort to get to know and support everyone he could.

“Everybody knew him, everybody loved him,” Kyra Janeczek said.

Janeczek had a way of getting to know people quickly and “bring[ing] people out” of their shells, Geisel roommate and friend Lucas Mayer Med’20 said.

He was empathetic and curious about the world around him. Janeczek’s roommates fondly remember him going out of his way to engage in conversation, whether it be with a friend, neighbor or a cashier at CVS.

Janeczek’s job at the Baker-Berry Library desks displayed his ability to connect with anyone.

“He could talk to a 10-year old with their parents, he could talk to a grumpy 79-year-old retiree, he could talk to faculty,” said Baker-Berry Library Access Services student supervisor Loey Crooks, Janeczek’s supervisor at his job at the Baker-Berry desks.

Crooks also described him as “larger than life.” She added that no matter how exhausted Janeczek was, whether he was coming from a 10-hour shift at the hospital or a long gym workout, he always took a moment to ask how she was doing.

Janeczek played sports from a young age. He scored 1000 points as a basketball player in high school, earning his name and photo, alongside his brother Ryan Janeczek, on a banner in the Wall High School gym. He was also a passionate fan of the New York Knicks.

Though he did not begin his football career until his senior year of high school, Janeczek quickly proved himself talented in the sport and received a scholarship to play at The College of New Jersey, where he majored in health and exercise science.

In addition to his athletic talent, Janeczek was also a gifted guitar player. He and roommates Bates and Forrest Rackard Med’20 would often have “jam sessions” in their first-year apartment in Hanover. Janeczek also frequented Bear Hollow Vintage Guitars in Lebanon, where he would play guitar and socialize with the owners and patrons, according to his roommates.

Janeczek first started talking about attending medical school during his high school years. He was injured in sports-related incidents several times, and initially expressed interest in orthopedic medicine.

He wanted to help others the way that doctors had helped him, said Geisel first-year student associate dean Virginia Lyons.

During his freshman year of high school, doctors diagnosed Janeczek with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome when emergency room technicians treating Janeczek for a dislocated shoulder conducted an electrocardiogram and noticed an abnormality. Without this diagnosis, Janeczek would have been at risk of death, as the condition meant his heart was in danger of stopping if he were hit with too much impact on the field. Doctors later diagnosed Janeczek’s younger brother RJ Janeczek with the same condition. By the time he began medical school, Janeczek had expressed interest in cardiothoracic surgery as a career.

Beyond his athletic and academic achievements, Janeczek will be remembered as generous and compassionate. Rackard said conversations with Janeczek gave the impression that he was “fiercely interested in you” and that he always took the time to check in with his friends.

Geisel medicine professor Roshini Pinto-Powell wrote in an email that Janeczek did his best to support his peers in the difficult transition to medical school and made Hanover feel like a less lonely place.

Janeczek is survived by his maternal grandmother Sue Post, his parents Lynn and Raymond Janeczek, his three siblings, Kyra Janeczek, 27, Ryan Janeczek, 21, and RJ Janeczek, 20, and many aunts and cousins.

A funeral and memorial services were held in New Jersey last week.

The family asks that memorial donations be sent to The Matthew J. Morghan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes in Janeczek’s name, which can be accessed at www.mjmiii.org.

Correction appended (Oct. 16, 2019): This article has been edited to remove euphemisms for death as per The Dartmouth’s style guidelines.