Stephen M. Libera, 21, of North Kingstown, was a true gentleman.
"He was one who would open a door and hold it for you when you went through," said Frances Cherry, Stephen's supervisor at the Sovereign Bank on Centerville Road in Warwick.
Stephen had worked there as a teller since June. "He hadn't been with us for very long," Cherry said, "but he was very important to us."
A 1999 graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, Stephen had taken some time off after high school, she said, but had recently returned to classes at the Community College of Rhode Island. On the weekends, he worked as a waiter at Longhorn Steakhouse. He was hoping to graduate and later become an accountant, Cherry said.
Stephen's coworker at the bank, Cheryl Augustine -- whose son was in Libera's graduating class -- recalled him as "lean and tall," a handsome young man who loved Subway sandwiches so much that coworkers routinely saved him coupons for the chain.
He spent a lot of time with his family, Augustine said -- his father, John J. Libera, his mother, Joanne, and his sisters and brother, Lisa, Amy and Andrew.
Stephen also loved music, Augustine said. A guitarist, his tastes ranged from classical to jazz to rock 'n' roll.
Cherry said Stephen sometimes went to concerts at The Station. That Thursday afternoon, she said, she heard him talking to a customer, telling him about a show he was going to see at the club that night.
He urged the customer to come along, she said, but the other man declined.
Cherry said her best memory of Stephen was of a "contest" they'd had together -- each of them claiming to know the best Chinese restaurant in Rhode Island.
To settle the contest, she said, they each took the other out to dinner at their restaurant of choice. "He bought my dinner, and I bought his," she said. They'd planned to do it again, this time at rival steakhouses. But they never got the chance.
"He was a sweet young man," Cherry said. "He was everything you would want your daughter to bring home."
-- -- S.I. Rosenbaum