St. Edward’s to hold memorial for Eleno Valle Feb. 19

Eleno Valle hated needles, but whenever there was a blood drive, he would ask his friend Melinda Szabo to take him. He was O+, a universal donor, and wanted to help people. 

“He was a kind soul and I will miss his laugh,” said Szabo, who had been friends with Valle since her freshman year.

Valle’s body was found Monday in Lady Bird Lake. He had been missing since Feb. 6. Police are investigating his death as a suicide.

Others who knew Valle described him as quiet.

“He was very quiet and very independent,” said Esther Yacono, director of the College Assistance Migrant Program, in which Valle was enrolled.

Esmeralda Perez, one of Valle’s CAMP classmates, remembered Valle’s quietness, but also remembered the many jokes he told, especially on their CAMP retreats.

She remembered how he would always say hello when they crossed paths and how he smiled and giggled while getting lunch with his sister, Elizabeth Valle, a freshman biology major, and CAMP student.

Their older sister, Carina Valle, is an SEU graduate who was also enrolled in CAMP.

“We are a big familia, so when one hurts, we all hurt,” said Perez.

Szabo shared stories about Valle Monday, from eating Cookies n’ Cream ice cream for dinner to going to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

“I took him to eat his first Whataburger, even though he lived his whole life in Texas,” she said. “He stayed up half a night to help me memorize lines for a play where I didn’t get to play the role. We watched some stupid movies and after I picked one about Cannibal parents he told me I couldn’t pick movies from Netflix again. We tried to make homemade soda once without measuring spoons and all the ingredients and made some gross yeasty drink. He enjoyed playing racquetball and taught me to play, sometimes scaring me with how hard he would play. He didn’t like hugging much but would sometimes allow me to hug him, just for a second. We went to watch the trans-Siberian orchestra and even though I complained quite a bit it was still an amazing experience to share with him. We had dreams about what we’d do after college, his less clear but he knew he wanted to change the world.”

Dean of Students Lisa Kirkpatrick sent an email to the campus community Monday soon after Valle’s body was identified.

“As a community, it is important that we support one another as we mourn his death,” she wrote.

Campus Ministry will hold a Memorial Mass for Valle in Jones Auditorium Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Since the news of Feb. 17, many have reached out to Hilltop Views wanting to share their stories about Valle. We’ve collected them here, unedited: SEU remembers Eleno Valle.