Nate Stratton would always take on a challenge.
Whether he was competing against his dad in a pickleball game or daring his older sister to a wrestling match, he always put in his full effort.
“It’s just those little moments,” Nate’s dad Brad said. “I’ve been going to sleep every night thinking about him dancing around the pickleball court with a big smile on his face because he beat me.”
Nate was never full of himself or overly cocky though, with his family describing him as goofy and often light-hearted.
He worked hard at what he put his mind to. And, just days before he died, he celebrated his acceptance to a study abroad program in Australia for this upcoming summer, something his family said he had been working toward for some time now.
Nate died early Sunday morning after an alleged drunk driver struck him on an e-scooter while making his way back from Raising Cane’s. He was 20 years old.
Stratton was a junior in the Kelley School of Business and is originally from Excelsior, Minnesota. A vigil for Nate will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Showalter Fountain on IU’s campus.
From all over the country, people have reached out to the Strattons to let them know what Nate meant to them. His friends living in other time zones remember how Nate would stay up late waiting for them so they could play a video game together. He would invite new friends over, never letting them be a stranger for too long. His determination inspired those around him to reach for goals they said they never would have on their own.
His sister Ceci remembers several years ago when she and Nate came across a goose that had died in their yard. Nate took the goose, wrapped it up and prepared a small funeral for it with her. And, after commemorating this goose’s life, she said he buried the goose next to the family’s outdoor fireplace — where it still is today.
“That’s exactly how Nate was,” Ceci said. “He found the light in weird situations like that.”
Nate was an avid skier, beginning when he was only 2 years old. When he and his sisters were younger, they were all a part of a family skiing team called “The Need for Speed.” After a certain point, his dad said Nate surpassed him in his abilities. Through his love for skiing, Nate traveled to places all over the world including Switzerland and Belgium.
In addition to the vigil, loved ones can show support through a fundraiser Nate’s family has organized to donate money in support of research for Type 1 diabetes, for which he was diagnosed with at 16 years old.
Nate is survived by his father Brad, his mother Elizabeth, two older sisters Abby and Ceci and grandparents Chuck and Sandy Landman.
If you or someone you know need support, counseling is available through IU Counseling and Psychological Services. The CAPS crisis line at 812-855-5711 is available 24/7.