UC Berkeley alumnus Daniel Quiroz dies at 29, remembered for warm heart

Campus alumnus Daniel Quiroz, who died Nov. 22 after a crash in San Francisco, is remembered by family and friends for his upbeat and welcoming personality. He was 29 years old.

Despite being about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, Quiroz was a delicate and warm human being, according to his uncle Marcelo Vercelli.

“He had this huge laugh that could fill a whole room,” said his younger sister, Natalie Robbins. “He could make everyone laugh and smile. He was someone you would meet once and never forget.”

Robbins, who is also a campus alumna, said she and her brother were very close and would confide in each other. Their time on campus overlapped and they were constantly interacting.

According to Robbins, because their parents were first-generation college students, Quiroz was very proud of his education.

Quiroz graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012, where he studied history after transferring from Santa Ana College. After college, Quiroz moved to Seattle to work at a company called Chameleon Labs with Vercelli. He later worked at a nonprofit in Orange County before moving back to the Bay Area.

Quiroz’s best friend, campus alumnus Kevin Gomez, transferred to UC Berkeley the same year and became roommates with Quiroz. Gomez described Quiroz as smart, optimistic and fun to be around. He added that Quiroz put a heavy emphasis on spending time with family and friends.

“This is a guy that was loved by so many people,” Gomez said. “I was fortunate to know I was one of the closest people in his life. I feel fortunate to have met him.”

Vercelli said Quiroz had a big heart and cared deeply about everyone in his life. Although Quiroz lived in Seattle for less than two years, Vercelli said he has received about 40 phone calls from people giving condolences and saying they have never met someone like Quiroz.

Campus alumnus Manuel Lopez del Rio, who attended the same community college as Quiroz and transferred to UC Berkeley a year earlier, said that whenever he finished an interaction with Quiroz, he felt in a better place. He added that Quiroz was incredibly optimistic and his happiness was contagious.

“I think the thing that hurts the most is seeing such an intelligent, amazing, kind human being not be able to live his life and accomplish all the things he was going to do,” Lopez del Rio said.

In Quiroz’s name, the family asked that, instead of sending flowers, people send donations to the Kruttschnitt Aspire Scholarship Program at UC Berkeley, which supports low-income, underrepresented minority students.

“We want Daniel’s legacy to live on with something like this, through people rather than cards or flowers,” Robbins said.

Contact Ella Colbert at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @colbert_ella.