POCOPSON >> More than 100 people turned out Wednesday night at a memorial service for a beloved bicyclist who was killed over the weekend in a hit-and-run crash.
“He brought joy and fun into my life,” said Evan Anderson at the service held at Northbrook Marketplace, where Arthur Joseff Teitsort-Birog, 24, worked. “He was always smiling and I never met a more joyous person.”
Teitsort-Birog used his Mongoose bicycle to get around as he did not have a driver’s license. He was bicycling on Route 926 near Schoolhouse Road just past midnight Saturday morning when he was struck from behind by a 2004 Jeep Liberty. The driver of the vehicle, 21-year-old Alan Michael Medina Barajas of Pocopson, did not stop but was found at his home – only a five-minute drive from the scene – a couple of hours later.
“I would see him on his bike and I would say ‘Joe, get off your bike and get in my car, this isn’t safe,’“ Anderson said. “I would always get on him to get his license. But he was a very responsible young man and he knew how to have fun.”
Tracy Mooney told about how she learned about Northbrook Marketplace’s famous apple cider donuts from Teitsort-Birog. She said she made the donuts part of her wedding and recalled how happy he was when she held her daughter’s first birthday at the eatery.
“When I walked in the door, I would always look to see if he was there,” Mooney said.
Mary Beth Drobish, who owns Spring Brook Farm, a non-profit facility that provides animal-assisted therapy for special needs children, recalled how she helped Teitsort-Birog to find a job after high school.
“He was quiet but what a wonderful young man,” Drobish said. “I would have been proud to have him as my son. He was so kind, so responsible, so happy. Some people live such long lives and aren’t happy. Joe had a short life, but it was filled with love and happiness.”
Peter Waterkotte, an avid bicyclist, recalled how he often rode with Teitsort-Birog.
“There won’t be a time when I am on my bicycle that I won’t think of Joe,” he said.
Christine Boone, who owns Northbrook Marketplace with her husband, recalled how Teitsort-Birog made the best sandwiches for customers.
“Joe would be embarrassed (by the turnout for him), but what an amazing community we have,” she said. “Joe just wanted to give and he would never say no.”
Toward the end of the service, and with many drying their eyes, Donald Lester told the audience to remember that life is short.
“Reach out as soon as you can to your children, your loved ones,” he said. “And tell them you love them, because you may not get that chance tomorrow.”
The service was officiated by Rev. Annalie Korengel, pastor of Unionville Presbyterian Church, who said she stops by Northbrook Marketplace several times a week and found Teitsort-Birog to always have a smile.
The investigation into the crash remains ongoing. No charges have been filed, but state police said anyone who may have witnessed the Aug. 23 crash or who may have further information is urged to contact investigators at 610-268-2022.