Emerson grad Twomey, class of 2006, dies of H1N1 virus

by Beacon Staff • September 9, 2009

Twomey pursued his passion for new media and politics at Gannon University, where he recieved a B.,A 2006 Emerson master's graduate, David Prescott Twomey III, 27, died on June 30 from complications stemming from the H1N1 flu virus, family members and college administrators said.

Twomey pursued his passion for new media and politics at Gannon University, where he recieved a B.A. in communication arts before graduating from Emerson with an M.A. in political and organizational communication, according to a statement from the college.

On June 22, Twomey warned friends on Facebook that swine flu was still a lethal threat. On June 24, he came down with a sore throat. He died six days later.

Dr. Gregory Payne, an associate professor in the communication studies department, taught Twomey and enlisted him as a graduate assistant. Payne told The Beacon that Twomey was "a vibrant, incredibly creative individual who truly had no ceiling."

Twomey's mother, Deborah Twomey, said her son's passion for new media and Web design blossomed in the seventh grade, when his Catholic middle school receive new computers.

"Other than taking the [computers] out of the box, the nuns didn't know what to do with them," she said.

Twomey set up the computers, and from then on was the go-to guy whenever the school experienced any computer difficulties.

After graduating from Emerson, Twomey worked as an assistant for public affairs and multimedia coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency, before receiving a position as operations coordinator for digital media services for the U.S. Federal Courts Office of Public Affairs.

His mother said her son believed in public service and was humble about his many accomplishments. While employed at the Federal Courts, Twomey worked to improve communication and public relations between different judicial branch Web sites.

"He took it personally," she said. "He wanted the government to run effectively and work for the people. He believed that his work was serving his country."

Twomey's mother said if there was any way her son would like to be remembered, it would be with a smile on his face. She said her son's work in the technology world will secure his legacy.

"His memory will continue because the Web doesn't die. What he did in his life is still alive and working."