As Colorado College students began to trickle onto campus last week, the community lost an invaluable member, Todd Martz. Todd-o, as many of his Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers knew him, passed away on August 24 following complications after a recent surgery.
Todd was born on June 16, 1972 with Downs Syndrome and was introduced to Kappa Sigma Beta Omega brothers in 1993 by the college’s chaplain. (more added here) Later that year, Kappa Sigma initiated him into the fraternity as a brother, and for the next 20 odd years, would spend many afternoons in the chapter’s house. Todd was the first person with Down syndrome initiated into a fraternity in the United States, and the Colorado Springs Gazette along with the NBC Today Show included news segments about Todd and his Beta Omega brothers.
Soon after his initiation, Todd moved into the house as a live-in
and lived there with other brothers for the next few years. He could be found attending events and parties at the house and sometimes just lounging on the porch. After Todd moved out of the fraternity, brothers regularly picked him up from Wooglin’s to spend the afternoons together.
Aside from his impressive presence at Kappa Sigma, Todd also remains an important cornerstone for Wooglin’s where he worked for a number of years. Students could find Todd seated at a booth, eager to hug friends and smile at strangers; if they were lucky, he would show them his notebook that he kept by his side and that he regularly wrote in and reread.
Todd Martz had an extensive network stretching from St. Andrew’s Church in Denver to Southlake, Texas, and to Governor John Hickenlooper’s Chief of Staff, Roxane White. Todd left a stunning legacy and warm memories with hundreds, if not thousands, of people he encountered.
Todd was daring, kind, understanding, and human. He was unafraid to tell friends how he felt and would gently unpack their ups and downs with unwavering patience. As many Beta Omega brothers can attest, he embraced every moment and often every person he met. Upon arriving at the porch of Beta Omega, Todd would often insist that people hug, no matter if they were strangers, acquaintances, or friends already. Todd notoriously said hello to everyone who passed and brought joy to countless lives.
Mother Theresa advised that people should do small things with great love, and besides having an infectious smile, Todd practiced doing small things with great love throughout his life.
Todd passed on an important gift to those he encountered. With startling perseverance, he tackled hardships and cherished everyone around him. He was truly a living treasure.
Friends and family celebrated Todd’s life last Thursday following a viewing on Wednesday. Kappa Sigma plans on installing a plaque dedicated to Todd in their chapter house along with other items of remembrance. In addition, the fraternity is in the process of developing a memorial service at Shove Chapel for Todd. Members of the community, regardless of their relationship with Todd, are welcome to partake in this celebration of his life. Todd is survived by his immediate and extended family; his Beta Omega, Wooglin’s, and St. Andrew’s Church families; and by the compassion and life lessons he passed on to those he met.