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Kevin Anthony Valerio Remembered

Student Dies in Car Crash, Leaves Behind Memories of Wit and Creativity

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On March 2, Jacksonville University lost 29-year-old student and U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Anthony Valerio to a car crash on Florida A1A.

Valerio was in the passenger seat of a car driven by 24-year- old Amanda B. Phillmon. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Phillmon was making a U-turn near Wonderwood Dr. when a pickup truck hit the passenger side, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Joseph P. Riley, 52, was the driver of the pickup truck. Riley was driving south on A1A and didn’t see Phillmon’s Acura sedan making the U-turn, according to the crash report.

Everyone involved was wearing a seat belt.

The JU Student Counseling Center, located in the Sam Marks Annex, is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for those grieving and in need of support.

“Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grieving is part of the healing

process,” said Jennifer King Weldon, Ph.D., assistant director and coordinator of clinical training. “There is no way to prepare for sudden loss, it can challenge your sense of security and confidence in the predictability of life.”

Commonly known as Tony, Valerio was pursuing a psychology and English major.

“Tony was the kind of student who would be quiet for an entire class, and then interject with something completely original and stunningly brilliant,” said Sarah Parker, Ph.D., his English academic advisor.

Friends and faculty alike remember Valerio as an intellectual, always immersed fully in his studies.

“Tony was the kind of student you could always count on not only to have done the reading but also to have spent the time to reflect on it,” Parker said. “He always had an original interpretive angle to offer. His perspective on what he read was incredibly unique. I would say that he was the 180 degree opposite of a cliche in everything he said, wrote, and thought.”

Senior English major Cameron Gibson looked forward to his peer’s witty contributions in class.

“He was highly intellectual,” Gibson said. “He had a way of always seeing the deeper meaning in any topic.”

Valerio was also an active member of the literary club “Inklings.” He was a founding member when the club reemerged on campus in fall 2014. Gibson got to know Valerio through class as well as through Inklings.

“I once called an Inklings get together at Chamblin’s, the coffee shop and bookstore downtown, and Tony was the only member to show up,” Gibson said. “We spent a few hours talking and sharing pieces. Tony composed song lyrics, and I was working on a poem to submit to ‘The Aquarian.’ I think this was truthfully the first time I recognized Tony’s genius. All of his lyrics were laced elaborate concepts about serious topics such as politics, love, etc. I was really impressed.”

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Kevin Anthony Valerio Remembered