Stephen M. Buda III, fire science student, dies after rock-climbing incident

Kelly Adkins and Elisa D'Egidio

Part-time fire science student Stephen Buda died on Sept. 6 at the age of 56. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Roxana Rohrhirsch Buda, his two daughters Alexandra and Isabella, his brother Paul and his wife Kimberly, his sister Naomi, his mother-in-law Berta, his father’s wife Trish, nieces and nephews Paul Jr, Ryan, Angelina, Sophia, Lucia, Natalia, Denise and Paula, and his in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins. He was predeceased by his father-in-law, Joseph Rohrhirsch.

Mr. Buda was climbing the Trapps Bridge section of the Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, N.Y. where he fell without climbing safety equipment. His obituary listed rock climbing as one of his favorite hobbies.

Born in Bridgeport, Conn. on Aug. 8, 1965, Mr. Buda was the eldest son of Stefan Buda and Lois Nelson Thompson.

Budda was a part-time student at the university and a pump engineer with the City of Bridgeport Fire Department (BFD). BFD, his employer since 2013, expressed their condolences via Facebook; they said that he loved his job of eight years and died doing his favorite hobby.

The news of the death was shared with the university community via email by dean of students Ophelie Rowe-Allen.

His advisor, Robert Healey, said: “He was always learning, and he bent over backwards to help. I would often yield to him during class to share his experience with our students. He loved sharing his knowledge and mentoring his classmates.”

Before working at BDF, Mr. Buda was a volunteer firefighter in Woodbridge for nine years and was also an instructor at Valley Fire School for the same amount of time.

On Sept. 14, the visitation at St. Patrick’s Church in Bridgeport was from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., followed by the funeral mass.

Mrs. Rohrhirsch Buda encourages the members of Charger Nation looking to support the family to make donations to the MakeHaven, VineTrust or University of New Haven in lieu of flowers.

Grief counseling is available through the university’s Counseling & Psychological Services, where members of the university community can make appointments Monday through Friday by calling 203-932-7333 or booking through Navigate.