Yalie tragically killed on Thailand mission

By Sheela V. Pai

On Fri., Nov. 7, a tragic accident took the life of Joseph Bookstaber, SY '00. While waiting on his bicycle at a stoplight on the main road of Chang Rae, Thailand, Bookstaber was sideswiped by a car and suffered severe head trauma. He entered a coma and died three hours later in a Thai hospital.

Joseph Bookstaber, SY '00

Bookstaber, a devout Mormon and native of Short Hills, NJ, had left in July for a two-year mission assignment in Northern Thailand for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His work consisted of teaching and leading the local church community. Missions such as these are standard rites of passage for Mormon youth upon reaching age 19.

"Nothing ever brought him down--he loved everything about life," Josh Hu, SY '00, said. Hu lived with Bookstaber last year. "He was very studious, but also had a good time with everything."

Seth Harris, SY '00, was also very friendly with Bookstaber. "He was one of the most interesting people I've met at Yale," Harris remembered. "What was remarkable about him was that he thought the world was so great.... He gave me hope in humanity, that we can be good."

Bookstaber had varied academic and extracurricular interests. At Millburn High School, he was an Eagle Scout as well as a member of the science quiz bowl and the math team. At Yale, he spent his free time participating in the Tory party and playing the piano in the Saybrook Common Room, despite having tendonitis of the wrist.

According to Hu, while Bookstaber intended to major in physics, his life goal was to follow in his father Richard's footsteps and become an investment banker. Bookstaber is survived by his mother, Pamela, older brother David, SY '99, and four younger siblings. A memorial service will be held on Mon., Nov. 17, at 12:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 84 Trumbull St.

All materials 1997 The Yale Herald, Inc., and its staff.