Rudolf Kiburis, 24, a member of Burr and Burton's 2005 graduating class, drowned while swimming in the Huntington Gorge in Richmond, Vt., Saturday, June 30. According to a police report, he was caught in a current and whirlpool area of the Gorge and was unable to get himself to safety. Efforts to revive him at the scene of the accident were unsuccessful.
Those that knew Rudy Kiburis remember him for his dry wit, his positive outlook on life and the profound effect he had on people, several said. "You couldn't possibly be in a bad mood when Rudy was around. He loved life. He was always quick with joke and smile," said
In a telephone interview on Monday, Midura said Kiburis knew the swimming hole well and enjoyed spending time there during the summer. Kiburis's friend and one-time bandmate Jamie Heintz, said Kiburis's kindness was infectious and that he had a unique ability to spread joy and make an impact on anyone he met, no matter how brief the encounter.
"Rudy by far out of anyone I've ever known was an incredibly
Heintz said Kiburis was the first person he met when he entered Burr and Burton Academy in his sophomore year. Heintz said Kiburis already had formed a very tight knit group of friends that he assimilated into when he arrived at BBA.
"It's hard to say whether or not he was my best friend or if he was anymore my friend than anyone else because the group of friends we had during that time was unbreakable. We were all each others best friends," said Heintz.
The two soon began to bond over their passion for music and with encouragement of some BBA staff members Heintz, Kiburis, Rob Eaton and Mike Wheeler began to play together on a regular basis.
Out of the collaboration they formed the group Greyspoke between 2002-2003 during their sophomore year of high school. Musically, Heintz said a special connection existed between the two as Heintz was the band's drummer and Kiburis their bassist.
"He was a hell of a bass player," said Heintz. "I've played with quite a few musicians in my time and I can easily say he was the most exciting and challenging and inspirational player I had the opportunity of playing with in my entire musical career. It seems as if his passion for life and his sense of purpose and his diligence in every walk of his life was born from his relationship with his bass."
But Kiburis's talents were not limited to music. Rob Hunter, a teacher at Burr and Burton Academy, said he first became acquainted with Kiburis when he was in his writers forum.
"You get to know people through their writing. When they write they take chances and they let you in a little bit more. The kid was an absolute prince," Hunter said.
Hunter said Kiburis's mature, dry sense of humor, which he said "could stop you right in your tracks" was one of the things he would remember the most about him.
"The people who knew him truly loved him. If you were a friend or a teacher you wanted him around," said Hunter. "[He was] someone who really related to adults well. He had that youthful energy as well. Some sort of spark. He's one of those kids that just kind of lives in your heart."
Burr and Burton Headmaster Mark Tashjian released a statement on Tuesday expressing the school's condolences to his family.
"Any premature loss is excruciatingly sad. Our hearts go out to the Kilburis family, and we hope they find comfort in the love of family and friends. Rudy left a mark of joy, playfulness and musicianship on this school, and together we will celebrate his life and mourn his passing."
A memorial service will be held for Kiburis at BBA in the Riley Center at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 6. Heintz said that a celebration of Kiburis' life will follow the ceremony.