Alexander Brian Stratton, 23, of St. Petersburg left this Earth on Sunday, August 4 just before midnight when the pain of life brought him to the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the Tampa Bay to die in the very water where he lived near and loved to fish, swim and go boating in. Alex was born on December 5, 1995 in Schenectady NY to Brian U. Stratton, now of Colonie, NY, and Lisa Coppola Stratton of Indian Rocks Beach, FL. Both parents survive their son.
Alex was diagnosed with Aspergerâ€™s Syndrome at 3 years old and battled the tortures of depression his entire life. Despite years of efforts from all who loved him, he lost the fight. His last words on earth spoke to just needing to stop the pain.
Alex was educated at Howe Elementary School in Schenectady, The Brown School in Niskayuna, and graduated from Guilderland High School with high honors in 2014. He then attended the State University of New York at Cobleskill, majoring in fisheries science. He transferred to Hudson Valley Community College where he was on the Deanâ€™s List each semester and received an Associates Degree in individual studies in December 2016. He most recently attended the University of South Florida St. Petersburg where he majored in global business and accounting, and received an award for his Mastery of the Principles of Financial and Managerial Accounting in March 2018.
Professionally, Alex was interested in business, politics, international affairs and technology. He was employed in 2017 by Malwarebytes in Clearwater as a lead development representative. While there, he traveled to business events in Phoenix and the Silicon Valley of California, two trips he was so excited to be a part of. He also traveled to England, Germany and the Netherlands as part of trip sponsored by the USF Department of Global Business in the spring of 2018.
As a high school student, he was employed as a camp counselor at the YMCAâ€™s Camp Nassau in Guilderland, where had spent summers since he was 6 years old. He also loved his weeks on Lake George at the YMCAâ€™s Camp Chingachgook. Alex loved to fish, learning at a young age from his grandparents, â€œPapa and Nana,â€ all about the equipment, hunting for worms, how to bait hooks and use lures, and obtained expert knowledge of fish species and habitat through his own voracious reading and studying. He enjoyed many trips to Adirondack lakes, the Great Lakes, fly fishing in Colorado, and ocean fishing in the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico. Several months ago he hooked a monster Tarpon from his ocean kayak right off of Indian Rocks Beach, one of his proudest fishing accomplishments.
Alexâ€™s biggest passion in life was the game Magic the Gathering. He began playing while only in middle school, often learning from and beating adults who had been playing the strategic card game for years. As he progressed through high school and then college, he continued to play competitively, traveling across the country and even to foreign countries including Costa Rica and most recently, Barcelona, Spain. He not only played the game but became a competition-level judge, a difficult and timely designation to receive. He judged at both Levels 1 and 2 in New York, Florida and at a conference in Las Vegas in 2015 with nearly 10,000 participants.
One of his biggest dreams was to qualify for the Magic the Gathering Pro Tour (also called Mythic Championship). On May 11, 2019, his dream came true when he placed first of some 250 players in Orlando and was granted a place in the Championship in Barcelona in July 2019. Thankfully, he played well in Barcelona and was very happy with the trip and the great sights he saw with the friends he traveled and stayed with.
Music was another of Alexâ€™s passions, and anyone who knew him well, had heard him play the guitar and even sing his own original music. His refurbished Martin guitar could often be found with him in the back of the car on the way to one stop or another in his active life. His musical tastes varied from alternative rock to grunge to hip hop. He attended many live concerts throughout the country, his first being his beloved band Green Day in Albany, NY, when he was 10 years old.
Through his travels and talents, Alex acquired literally hundreds of close friends throughout the country and even foreign lands. The outpouring from those in the Magic the Gathering Community worldwide has been astounding. His generosity, intelligence and sheer passion for life and what he loved were shared and admired by so many people.
Besides his parents, Alex is survived by his maternal grandmother Alice Brown of Indian Rocks Beach, who he was very close to and confided in over the years; David Ardman of Indian Rocks Beach (Lisaâ€™s life companion); his maternal aunt Debora Moran; paternal aunts and uncles: Lisa Bravo (and the late Martin Bravo), Debra and Roger Mott, Kevin Stratton, and Kim and Mike Petrie. Beloved cousins also surviving Alex are: Andrew Bravo, Brian Bravo, Alexandra Mott Horton, Nicole Mott Burnim, Mackenzie Stratton Hammock, Carlie Stratton, Megan Petrie Wise, and Jonothan Petrie.
He was predeceased by his maternal grandfather Joseph Coppola, step maternal grandfather Donald Brown, paternal grandfather the Honorable Samuel S. Stratton (US Congressman) and paternal grandmother Joan Stratton.
Memorial donations in the name of Alexander Stratton can be sent to Family & Child Service of Schenectady, 256 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12305. This organization was a life support for our family during Alexâ€™s entire childhood, providing guidance and assistance with special education systems, government programs, respite care, etc., all from the most caring people in the world.
There will be a charity Magic tournament in Alexâ€™s honor on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Next Ridge Games, 11230 W. Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL (813) 818-4263. Thank you to store owner Rusty Hunt for his generosity of time and efforts to put this on in Alexâ€™s memory. Our family looks forward to attending and meeting many of Alexâ€™s friends.
Burial and a service will take place in Upstate New York at a date to be determined soon. Refer to Facebook for more information.