Justus Andrew Booze

Justus Andrew Booze

SCHENECTADY — Justus Andrew Booze, whom his close friend called “the light in the room when you felt alone,” died Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in a workplace accident in Guilderland. He was 23.

His fiancée, Kristen Hickey, said that Mr. Booze was “an all-around genuine guy who had a pure, pure heart.”

Mr. Booze “came from nothing,” his close friend Oscar Loso Lopez said recently, but had managed to “build a healthy lifestyle” and set a foundation for a happy life.

He was engaged, Mr. Lopez said, and took care of his fiancée and her three children. He had graduated from Schalmont High School in 2011, and then from Schenectady County Community College, where he studied business management.

Ms. Hickey said that Mr. Booze always made sure that she and the children had whatever they needed, first.

Justus Andrew Booze was born on July 18, 1992. Mr. Booze had been been a ward of the state and had spent time in foster care, his friend Mr. Lopez said. A foster mother who went on to adopt  him died some time ago, said Ms. Hickey.

Mr. Booze had been homeless for a while about four years ago, just before Mr. Lopez, a friend of one of Mr. Booze’s friends, invited him to stay with him for a while.

The two became friends and then eventually like brothers, said Mr. Lopez, who says he also came from a background much like Booze’s.

Together the two young men spent time trying to locate their mothers, and they did find Mr. Lopez’s, in Albany, although she died not long after he made contact.

“He was heartbroken, but we accomplished what our goal was,” Mr. Lopez said of finding her.

Ms. Hickey said, “He’s very outgoing, loving. He would give you the shirt off his back.”

Asked to describe his friend, Mr. Lopez said he was “always a gentleman” and “always put the ones in need first.” Mr. Lopez said that the two of them had matching tattoos that said, “Best friends / brother.”

Mr. Booze, his friend said, was “headed on the right path.”


He leaves behind his family: fiancée Kristen Hickey and her three children, Olivia Torres, 7; Joshua Ramos, 8; and Matthew Schutta, 11, all of Schenectady. He also leaves many friends.

His mother died before him, as did a foster mother who had adopted him.

Funeral plans are not yet set.

A GoFundMe site called “In loving memory of Justus Booze” was set up by a friend, to help his fiancée with funeral and other immediate expenses. As of Tuesday, it had raised $5,515 of its $10,000 goal.

— Elizabeth Floyd Mair

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