Family, friends mourn ex-student


Celia Jimenez

LaShawn Encarnacion is remembered during the Radio Television and Film alumni reunion on Feb. 6 in the Hope Shaw Broadcasting Studio at City College. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Oisis Jones

Family members and friends remembered a former City College student as having a great heart at his funeral Mass on Friday.

LaShawn Encarnacion was found dead in his East Village studio apartment at the end of January. He had battled diabetes and other chronic diseases for years.

Dozens of people, some who traveled from out of state, attended the Mass held at Christ the King Church in the Stockton neighborhood near downtown.

Encarnacion had dreamed of being a sportscaster.

“He knew his stuff when it came to sports and he should have soared,” said Laura Castaneda, the chair of the Communication Department and one of his former instructors. “But his health issues were a constant battle and it spoiled his dreams.”

Encarnacion served as City Times sports editor until his health forced him to abandon City College three years ago. Afterward, he blogged for a sports site, sharing his stories through social media.

A former classmate, Antonio Marquez, said Encarnacion’s nature was to help people, particularly underdogs.

“He didn’t just choose the person that was in the limelight, he would look for the underdog as well and tell their story. His heart and soul went to the writing, and that’s a one of the reasons as why he was a great sports editor.”

Marquez said Encarnacion was adopted and often talked about how that influenced him.

“His adoptive parents were a big influence on him; they would go out and help people, and he wanted to be like his parents and repay people back,” Marquez said.

Castaneda said that Encarnacion battled the government for years over financial aid issues and doctors who he believed didn’t care.

“He never took no as an answer,” Castaneda said. “He wrote letters, he asked me for letters to his doctors. I think he got so worn down with people telling him ‘no,’ and writing appeals, that it just simply proved to be too much. He took on the government with financial aid issues. And he took on doctors who he believed didn’t care. I think he wrote to vent, and I’m proud of him for that.

“I hope other students who read this will remember that anything you believe in, is worth fighting for.”