Hundreds remember slain chef at vigil outside Oregon Culinary Institute

Oregon Culinary Institute's Chef Brian Wilke shares his memories of his colleague Chef Dan Brophy, who was shot and killed Saturday. (KATU Photo)

One look at the parking lot outside the Oregon Culinary Institute and you'd know how much Dan Brophy was loved. Students -- both current and former -- colleagues and loved ones gathered to remember their beloved chef.

"He was like really, really special to me. And he was very personal to everybody, and he was a really great guy, and I'm going to miss him dearly," said Madison Amburgy, a current student. "Don't know how we're going to replace him."

"Dan was the pinnacle; he was at the top. It's a tough loss for everyone," said Tony Hall, a former student of Brophy's.

Brophy was shot and killed on campus over the weekend. Police still don't know who killed him.

Brophy wore many hats, including chef and teacher. To Nancy Brophy, he was husband and best friend. At the vigil, she told the crowd nothing in life was a science project to him, but more like an adventure.

"Dan was one of the very few people I've known that knew exactly what he wanted in life and loved doing it," she said.

Brophy had a passion for food. He taught at OIC for decades, once it opened.

Students talked about fearing him in the beginning, saying he didn't smile much and seemed intimidating. At the end, they said he was serious, but had a playfulness to him.

"Everyone had a chance to redeem himself in Brophy's eyes. He was never heartless, he was never cruel, he was a sweet man and he didn't deserve what happened to him," said Zach Still, his former student.

He's remembered for his quirks and his dedication to his students. However, he's perhaps best known for what his students coined "Brophy-isms," words to live by Brophy.

Students shared some of their favorite including:

"'It would go a lot faster if you would stop moving so slow,'" said Still.

"Dan's secret mushroom hunting spot, if you go to the coast, look for the two big trees and you know you're in the right spot," said Hall.

Co-founder of OCI and friend of Brophy's, Chef Brian Wilke, opened the vigil with his favorite memories with Brophy, shared Brophy-isms, and ended with a moment of silence followed by lighting "the dragon," which was a blowtorch Brophy liked to use.

"It's super, super great to see everybody show their appreciation and respect and love for one of my best friends I've ever had in my entire life," said Wilke.

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