Niagara Falls, NY - A SUNY Fredonia student who passed away suddenly last November will receive his diploma posthumously in two weeks.
Thomas Dean's family is also sharing his talents with the world six months after his death in a unique way.
"He just had such a charming personality, and he made friends with everyone where ever he went," says Thomas' sister, Katherine Dean.
Thom was studying English and Creative Writing at SUNY Fredonia when he unexpectedly passed away from a rare condition called lymphocytic myocarditis, a virus that in most cases causes heart failure.
"It's a really horrible disease. And it's not something that you can recover from, really," says Katherine.
As part of the healing process, Thom's family came up with a way to share his talents with the world.
"The night that Thom passed away actually, we had dinner with him and we had talked to him about self publishing," says Katherine.
His mom collected his stories, poems and papers and published a book, "Immortal: The Life and Legacy of Thomas Dean."
Katherine read one of his poems for us Friday night.
"This poem is called Sundust. Don't forget Sundays are out there. Don't forget somebody's already been there. Don't forget you've got to remember there's always somewhere to hide."
"It's kind of like getting into his head and really being able to see his thoughts in a new way," she says.
And while it won't be easy, in two week's Thom's family will accept his diploma on his behalf.
"What do you think that moment will be like for you as a family?" asked Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik.
"It will definitely be emotional. But, we're really proud of him. And we're so grateful to the staff for making such a great tribute to Thom," says Katherine.
Proceeds from the book will help fund a scholarship at SUNY Fredonia in Thom's honor.
You can find Thom's book on Amazon: Immortal The Life and Legacy of Thomas Dean.