Penn State Student's Friends Look Back At A Life Cut Short Scott Latimer Was Killed Last Month. An Award Will Bear His Name.

Posted: January 28, 1999

MIDDLETOWN — Getting accustomed to classes at the Pennsylvania State University campus in Delaware County was tough for Walid Dimacukie, a Lebanese student who felt a little awkward when he entered the school in the fall of 1997.

But then he met Scott Latimer, ``one of the few people who gave the time to know me,'' Dimacukie said yesterday, eulogizing the classmate who accompanied him through a difficult physics course and two math courses.

Dimacukie, several times holding back tears, was one of many friends and classmates who attended a memorial service at the school to remember Latimer, who died Dec. 20, the day after the car he was driving was struck by a motorist who has since been charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.

The service was organized by the Student Government Association and the Office of Student Life. It also marked the inauguration of the Scott Latimer Engineering Award, a cash award that school officials said would go to help Penn State engineering students.

Martin Ranalli, 19, who attended Upper Darby High School with Latimer and took several courses with him at Penn State-Delco, coordinated the service.

``He was always a good friend. We were two peas in a pod,'' Ranalli said, recalling how the two studied and joked together. Latimer, 19, who boasted a big smile and easygoing manner, was known on campus for his Elmo lunch box - a big, red container that he often filled with food to share with friends. Classmate Steve Flammia said Latimer brought him food every week because he knew Flammia's budget was stretched and groceries sometimes were scarce.

As an engineering student, Latimer was inquisitive and thoughtful, said physics professor Peter Georgopulos. ``He was a gentle person and a gentleman in all our interactions,'' Georgopulos said.

Police said Latimer was struck on Burmont Road about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 19 by a vehicle driven by James Comber 3d, 29, of Broomall. Comber's blood-alcohol level was 0.15, police said. A reading of 0.10 is the legal limit for intoxication in Pennsylvania. Comber faces a preliminary hearing in Haverford District Court on Feb. 18.

FOR MORE INFORMATION * Contributions to Penn State's Scott Latimer Engineering Award can be made to Pennsylvania State University, Delaware County Campus, care of Mary Anne Rees, director of development, 25 Yearsley Mill Rd., Media, Pa. 19063-5596. Checks should be made out to Pennsylvania State University; a notation should designate the fund.

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