Joseph Tutaj's love of music was on full display Monday morning when hundreds packed into the St. William the Abbot Roman Catholic Church sanctuary nearly two weeks after the 15-year old died suddenly while on a Seaford High School band trip to Southern California.
The Seaford High School band and chorus paid tribute to Tutaj during the emotional one-hour service with a playing of the 1970 Beatles hit "Let it Be", which was described as one of the late teen's favorite songs. In addition to his passion for the musical arts as a trumpeter in the Seaford High School band, Tutaj was also remembered for his service involvement with a church youth group at St. William the Abbot and as a member of Boy Scout Troop 581. His compassion for others was also recalled.
Tutaj died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 19 after complaining of a high fever. His cause of death has not yet been determined.
"He has taught us that we must reach out and care for others," said Rev. Robert L. Hayden, spiritual leader of St. William the Abbot, said of Tutaj during remarks at Monday's funeral service. "The band will not be able to be on the field and not think of him."
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Following Monday's Mass of Christian Burial service, burial for Tutaj occurred at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
Tutaj is survived by his mother Eileen and father Robert, who is in the midst of a battle with stage 4 cancer. He is also survived by his sister Emily and grandfather Joseph Dolan.