Former Ramapo track and field athlete, 23-year-old Brad McNamara passed away on March 10 after a hard fought battle with brain cancer.
McNamara was a member of the track and field team for each of his four years at Ramapo. As a member of the pole-vaulting team in 2012, he took third place at the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships, clearing 4.35 meters. He was diagnosed with brain cancer on Jan. 6, 2014 and immediately underwent surgery.
The Ramapo community mourns the loss of McNamara and remembers him as a hard-working, well-liked individual who was dedicated to both academics and athletics, who always maintained a positive outlook.
“He always had a smile on his face,” said Roadrunners track and field head coach Mike Jackson. “He was always the person to crack a joke, or was someone who you knew could lighten the mood."
Jackson recalled fond memories of the years that McNamara wore the Roadrunners uniform and of his presence with the team in and out of the locker room.
“People have several memories of some of the things he did to lighten to mood. I think that’s something he definitely left his mark with," said Jackson. "Enjoy the moments that you have with one another and make sure you keep them positive.”
He graduated from Ramapo in May 2013 with a degree in in business administration and finance and a minor in international business, while maintaining a 3.3 grade point average.
He was also a member of the Global Roadrunners Program, which “is designed to engage returned study abroad students in the development and strengthening of a study abroad ‘culture’ at Ramapo College of New Jersey,” according to the College’s website.
“He was doing very well in terms of having a job set up for himself,” Jackson said. “He was set up for success and unfortunately he got sick pretty quickly and he wasn’t able to carry that out.”
A memorial service was held for McNamara on March 14 at the Scanlan Funeral Home in Pompton Plains, NJ.
Though Jackson said that he was unable to attend the service because of this year’s track and field NCAA Championships, he said that other coaches were in attendance and that over 2,500 people turned out to pay their respects and to comfort the McNamara family.
“From what I heard there was a lot of great energy and great support,” Jackson said.
Prior to the service, Brad’s parents asked for donations to the Brad Mac Perseverance Scholarship at Pompton Lakes High School, in lieu of flowers.
McNamara is survived by his mother and father Cindy and Gene; brothers Jon and Erick; grandparents, Eugene and Margaret McNamara and Richard and Better Clark and his girlfriend J.T. Kelly.
He will be missed by the entire Ramapo community.
“Ramapo College definitely worked for him as a student as well as an athlete. He was really setting himself up for success to have a great career. That’s the sad part about it," said Jackson. "We’re happy that he was able to live those great years that he had and he most definitely lived it to the fullest.”