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John Preputnik's compassion sparks chain reaction in his passing

John Preputnik's compassion sparks chain reaction in his passing

Members of the Hofstra community carry heavy hearts amid the passing of recent graduate John Preputnik, a former health science major, an alumnus of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a dear friend to many.

“So when you walk up to John, the first thing that hits you is a giant smile,” said pledge brother and close friend Josh Perloff, a senior business major. “He had a real genuine excitement to see friends.”

Preputnik, of North Bellmore, New York, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 21. A wake was held on Thursday, Aug. 23 at Clair S. Bartholomew Funeral Home, followed by a church service and cremation the next day.

Born on Dec. 9, 1993, Preputnik shares a birthday with his twin sister, Sarah, who he was very close with. He was family-oriented and a loving son to his parents, David F. and Ann Gallagher Preputnik.

Those close to him say Preputnik had a genuine regard for other people, continuously taking time to check in with friends and family.

“He’ll immediately hit you up with ‘How you doing?’ and legitimately asking how you’re doing and catching up. He’ll throw whatever he’s been watching at you, asking if everything’s all right, how classes are going,” Perloff said. “He was always the first person, and this is gonna sound cheesy, but he really was the first person to check to see if you were OK ... Little things like that, he doesn’t think twice about it, he just did [them]. He cared so, so, so much about those closest to him ... he would do anything for them.”

Preputnik served as his fraternity’s warden where he was expected to maintain peace and order during the chapter’s executive committee meetings. Senior accounting major and president of Hofstra’s Phi Delta Theta chapter Moises Philippsborn said nothing describes Preputnik better than that. “He was our keeper of peace, a brother who always looked to help and unite the chapter as new classes came in after him. John continued to stay involved after graduating, always being a voice of wisdom and support for the younger officers taking positions of leadership in the chapter,” Philippsborn said.

After graduating from Hofstra in December of 2017, Preputnik enrolled in a nursing program at Farmingdale State College. He had aspirations of being a physician’s assistant, said his good friend, fraternity brother and little Max Newman, a senior mass media studies major. 

“He knew everything about the human body,” Newman said of his brother, one of the first people to greet him when he arrived at Hofstra. “He wanted to kind of take me under his wing. He always did that for people, kind of show them the ropes ... He was involved every step of the way and held me accountable and I appreciated that so much because no one in my life has ever called me out on my bullshit like he was able to. I miss it.”

A statement provided by the Department of Health Professions read, “The Department of Health Professions, John’s faculty and fellow students, were sad to hear of John’s passing. He was a thoughtful and engaged scholar during his time at Hofstra and we were proud to have him as a student, classmate and friend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

Preputnik’s friends described him as a “dork.” With a firm love for buffalo wings and all things Marvel, Naruto and Pokemon-related, he wore his passions on his sleeve – sometimes literally.

“He had Phi Delt letters and the fabric was a bunch of Pokemon. I made so much fun of him for wearing it and he would smile so hard because he loved it,” Newman said.

Preputnik’s impact on his community was profound, and his legacy continues to ring throughout Hofstra’s campus, especially among his brothers. 

“As we look to move forward, John is going to be deeply missed by our chapter, and will be immortalized into our history forever. As a chapter, we are making a strong push to bring mental health speakers to campus and increase the amount of resources available to our brothers and the rest of the Hofstra community,” Philippsborn said. “Even in his passing, John is still contributing to the betterment of our chapter. He will be deeply missed, but never forgotten.”

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