The WSU community is mourning the loss of a graduate student and teacher of the School of Economic Sciences.
Tesfaye G. Deboch, 27, drowned in the Seattle Quality Inn & Suites hotel pool late afternoon on June 30. Deboch was expecting to finish his fourth and final year in the WSU Economics PhD program in 2014.
Rebekah Shrader, a cohort with Deboch in the Economics PhD program, said Deboch communicated well with students and encouraged people to do their best.
“I just want people to understand how much love he had,” Shrader said. “He enjoyed his whole life and shared fun stories about his grandma’s gardens in Ethiopia.”
Shrader said she attended Deboch’s funeral service last week in Seattle where friends shared a common thread of Deboch’s ability to always help out friends.
“He never asked for anything from anyone,” Shrader said. “He had so many options and had talked about returning to Ethiopia to work on their financial system.”
While at WSU, Deboch taught the Fundamentals of Macroeconomics in the summer of 2012 and spring of 2013. This summer, Deboch also taught money and banking courses at WSU, and tutored several Economics 101 students during the second summer session.
In May of 2010, Deboch received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Wyoming and also earned a minor in Finance as an Honors Graduate.
In addition to teaching at WSU, Deboch regularly attended basketball games, participated in intermural soccer at the Student Recreation Center, joined in international student activities and actively engaged with Christian groups in the community.
“I always saw him at the Rec center playing soccer,” Shrader said. “He was such a social and active person, and he loved the people here.”
Samuel Gebru, CEO of the Ethiopian Global Initiative, said he first met Deboch in May 2010 when he volunteered for the international organization.
“I was inspired by him, he was a very smart and diligent person,” Gebru said. “We had many in-depths conversations about who he was, his career goals and where he saw his education.”
Gebru said he thought Deboch had potential to pursue a career in government, due to their shared interests in political ideas.
“He had a different perspective on things,” Gebru said. “I thought he could have inspired a new shift in Ethiopia. He was excited to join us and he helped us out a lot.”
Many Ethiopians do not return to the country after they leave, Gebru said, so he had a lot of respect for Deboch’s plans to return to the country and work with the youth.
Gebru said he will miss Deboch’s passion and can-do spirit the most.
Darlington Sabasi, Deboch’s roommate at the University of Wyoming and WSU, said Deboch was an organized person and passionate about helping his family.
“He was one of those people who never gave up on anything and was always relaxed,” Sabasi said. “Despite challenges or difficult situations, he cheered me up and told me to do my best, and everything would work out well.”
A local WSU memorial service for Deboch will be at 3 p.m. on Friday in the Ensminger Pavilion.
Donations for the Tesfaye Girma Deboch Memorial Fund can be found on the WSU Foundation website.