Rafael Torch, 1975-2011

by Contrary Magazine on December 18, 2011

Rafael Torch

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Dirge Without Music”

“Because education played an integral role in Rafael’s life, preferred form of remembrance may be directed to a scholarship fund for his son, Rocco James Torch.”  Rocco’s scholarship fund is set up through The First Midwest Bank. Checks to be made payable to Rocco James Torch and mailed to:

First Midwest Bank
FBO Rocco James Torch
220 W Main Street
Morris, IL 60450

Rafael’s work in Contrary:

Paging Stevie Cavallero

Rafael’s Contrary Blog Archive

Rafael’s obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete December 19, 2011 at 10:34 am

I didn’t see anything on the funeral home site specific to the scholarship fund, so if you get any more information on that please post it here. I would very much like to donate.


Contrary Magazine December 20, 2011 at 2:54 am

Thank you so much, Tari, for reaching out at this most difficult time.

And here is the information about the scholarship fund for Rafael’s son Rocco:

Rocco’s scholarship fund is set up through The First Midwest Bank. Checks to be made payable to Rocco James Torch and mailed to:

First Midwest Bank
FBO Rocco James Torch
220 W Main Street
Morris, IL 60450


Tari Torch Sweeney December 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I am Rafael’s mother, Tari. We will miss Rafa intensely and forever. But, we know how wonderful he was with his students, and how much they loved him….and how much HE loved them! I have always felt that I knew them because he spoke so much about all of them. It has been joyful and wonderful to hear them speak about him. Many funny stories. We love remembering him with laughter and fun. The past four years have been difficult. Thank you ALL for caring, and writing.

Carolyn, a very close friend of Rafael, has spoken about the following scholarship to us. It is a very worthwhile opportunity to help young writers begin to fulfill their writing dreams. The information about it is below.

There is a scholarship at Southern Illinois – Rafael Torch Young Writers Workshop Scholarship. It is given to students who are actively interested in writing, and they attend workshops and the scholarship is their assistance. A number of donations have been made to this. The information is as follows, from an email sent to Rafael’s close friend, and fellow teacher, at Cristo Rey High School, in Chicago (Carolyn/Caro is her nickname). Note: SIUC is Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, IL

You can tell anyone who wants to donate to the Rafael Torch YWW
scholarship the following:

Send a check made out to SIUC to

Ms. Pat Eckert
Division of Continuing Education
703 South Washington Street Carbondale, IL 62901-3964
in the check’s memo line have people write “YWW Torch Scholarship.”
That’s all they need to do.
Allison J.


David Alm December 20, 2011 at 6:46 am

Terrible news, but a relief to know his suffering is over. Still, terrible.


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