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In Memoriam: Alfredo Gomez-Beloz - A Legacy of Selflessness and Compassion

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It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Alfredo Gomez-Beloz, Senior Professional Lecturer in Environmental Science and Studies, on October 19, 2023. Alfredo's life was a testament to the power of kindness, curiosity, and an unwavering commitment to others. His departure leaves a void that words fail to capture, but his legacy of selflessness and compassion shines bright.

​Alfredo loved plants and had a particular interest in edible and medicinal plants and their role in human and environmental health.  His love for plants and nature mirrored his nurturing spirit and respect for all living things. He found inspiration in music, particularly the Beatles, as well as a profound connection to history and the innate beauty of the world around us. He once confided with lifelong friend Kenneth Butigan, PhD., a Senior Professional Lecturer (Professor of Practice) in DePaul's Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program that discovering the Beatles (and the Stones) at the tender age of 14 had saved his life. Alfredo learned to play the guitar and delivered Beetles songs that brought joy to many listeners. Following the completion of his Ph.D., he embarked on his teaching journey at Saint Martin's College (now Saint Martin's University) in Lacey, Washington, before coming back to the Midwest. Alfredo's dedication to teaching was unwavering. He poured his heart and soul into nurturing not just his family but also his students and the environment. His passion for education was palpable, and his departure from the classroom has left a void in the lives of those he inspired.

​Alfredo made significant contributions in the field of Ethnobotany, cultivated during his time in Venezuela, while conducting research there on a Fulbright scholarship. He later shared his wealth of knowledge and wisdom about urban gardening and plant botany to DePaul first as an adjunct faculty member and then began to teach full-time in the fall of 2016. Alfredo's classes, rooted in experiential learning, forged deep and meaningful connections with numerous students. To commemorate his memory, his students created an ofrenda as an expression of their recollections of him.

During the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alfredo adapted by creating a series of videos showcasing his walks through local natural areas, identifying plants, and infusing them with his characteristic wit. He also ensured that his urban gardening students could continue their education remotely by sending them growing kits.

Alfredo's enduring legacy of selflessness, boundless compassion, and an unwavering love for life will eternally reside as a guiding light in our hearts. Much like the poignant lyrics of a Beatles song, he lived by the profound truth that "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." The void left by Alfredo Gomez-Beloz's absence is palpable, and his absence is deeply felt. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his grieving family during this difficult time.