Denis Preka

March 20, 1997 - March 19, 2019

Join us in Remembering our Brilliant Boy Denis

On August 16, Summer in the City is holding their annual Finale Friday and Backpacktacular. We are asking you to volunteer for this event or donate on his behalf. This event will be held from 9am to 2pm. We are also asking Denis’s friends and family to join us at 1pm for free lunch and in honoring Denis.

If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this form and we will see you at Doan Playground! #LoveLikeDenis #HugLikeDenis


Linda and Nawrooz

P.S. These are the words Denis wrote on the back of his passport:

“Who in this room enjoys traveling and holds an American passport?  Well, just like any of you, I LOVE traveling and was granted this American passport not too long ago.  However, this passport is something much more for me.  Now you might be asking yourself, “Denis I’ve had an American passport my entire life!  What’s the big deal!?!”  The big deal is that this passport holds significant value for me, not only for what it’s enabled me to do, but also for what it symbolizes for me.

“Now, I was born in Bolzano, Italy in 1997 to father and an Albanian mother.  Around the age of 1 we were offered a visa to the United States and moved to New York and then Michigan.  Now for most of you, this little blue book is pure birth right.  For me on the other hand, I was blessed enough to be naturalized and grand citizenship to this country on November 12th, 2009.  Growing up, I never really had much family around just because everyone lived back in Europe.  What this book has done for me is expanded my horizons, allowed me to see my family, and ultimately given me some of the best experiences of my life.  All of the scenery, culture, and most importantly food that I have experienced is absolutely remarkable and it has given me memories that I will hold for the rest of my life.  I mean, I’m only 18-years-old, but I have already seen so much of the world.  What this book symbolizes for me is the American Dream and how fortunate I am to be the living, breathing first generation of that.  My family back home only dreams to be able to the United States and begin a life over here, because for them, America means opportunity.  I often times look back at the opportunities that I have been presented with and can’t help but think about how blessed I am to live in of the best countries in the world, unless you’re Republican.  The you think this place sucks.  However, that’s beside the point. I have seen the slums of Albania and experienced the terrible state, both economically and socially, that the country is in right.  Even Italy is in an economic crisis that is hindering my family back home and I couldn’t be more grateful that my parents brought me over here and gave me the life that I have.

“All in all, my most prized possession is indeed my passport because of everything if means to me both symbolically and materially.  And I believe that each and every one of us should not take something like this for granted because not everyone has the opportunity that we do. Thank you.”

We miss you and your enthusiasm and love for life, our angel. We hope we can honor even a piece of all that you are.

Name *

Denis Preka was born in Bolzano, Italy, and came to this country with his mother when he was one year old. He went to St. Lawrence Catholic School and later attended high school at De La Salle Collegiate.  Denis graduated with honors, founded the Model United Nations club and participated in soccer, lacrosse, track and field and swimming. He continued his academic career at the University of Detroit Mercy, majoring in both Psychology and Business. There, he started Model UN as well as Albanian American Student Organization. Later, he transferred to his dream school, the University of Michigan. He aspired, more than anything, to attend the Ross School of Business and pursue a career in Business Law.

Teachers and colleagues would describe him as a passionate and driven young man. Denis was absolutely brilliant. He saw so much of this world and had ideas far beyond that of anyone his age. He spoke four languages, played the guitar and had a vast knowledge of psychology and philosophy. Denis also loved to travel and founded his own travel agency, Amerigo Travel. His family and friends would describe him as the most loving person you would ever meet. Denis was filled with so much love and life — and had a special ability to connect deeply with anyone he crossed paths with.

When Denis was an intern at Quicken Loans, he volunteered with Summer in the City. Denis always fondly recalled his experience volunteering with the campers at Summer in the City’s Project Play. It had a profound impact on him — so much so that he founded Amerigo Gives, a company that was going to partner with Summer in the City to send one young adult in Detroit on a trip to anywhere in the world.

Denis’s life was cut far too short. The world lost out on the incredible capabilities of his heart and mind. But his legacy will live on forever. To our love, our soul, our strength, we live for you now and to carry on what you left behind.

On behalf of Denis, we thank you for the donation you have made to Summer in the City.

Donate in Honor of Denis

Donors and Tributes

(We will update this a few times a day.)

  • Anonymous, $100.

  • Violet Shkreli, $50.

  • Torrance West. From torrance, fly high baby 

  • Thomas Graves. We love you Denis! 

  • Nicolette Lulgjuraj, $50. Denis, I am so blessed to be able to say that I knew a guy like you. Thank you for shining your light upon everyone you met. Love you always, I know you’re rejoicing with the angels in heaven. 

  • LisaRay Gunn. Psalm 23:1-6 John 16:20-23 Romans 8:28 

  • Anonymous, $50.

  • Kim Peck

  • Lonea Seitllari

  • Donna Musolli, $100. In memory of Denis, honoring his dedication to others and his passion for providing everyone an opportunity to learn, explore, and discover new things. Sincerest condolences to his loved ones. 

  • Phillip Matous

  • Nikki Ognanovich, $50. In honor and memory of Denis - I was so blessed to know such a kind and sweet soul. He is and will be dearly missed.

  • Steve Dixon. In loving memory for Denis and to his amazing mom

  • Anita Houbba. 🙏🏻💙

  • Nicole Foster. My daughter Marti had many great things to say about Denis. He was a blessing to those who knew him. My deepest condolences.

  • Gabrielle Buscemi. ♥️ 

  • Alexandra Zdrinca , $20. Here's to loving more like Denis did. I can only imagine the light you shed on these children, as you did to all the rest you came across.

  • Tony & Martha Cimmarrusti, $250. What a fine young man Denis was. A kind soul who was a blessing to the men in our bible study, and to me and several of my boys. God bless you Denis and I look forward to seeing you in heaven. Bless you. 

  • Anonymous, $50.

  • Diane Gibbs. Beautiful write up of this young mans life. In loving memory 💚😘

  • Myreya Amezcua , $100. In honor of the love between Mother, Linda, and son, Denis. They shared the joy of travel, family, and making this world a better place.

  • Marisa Corona. I have known Denis for a while, from St. Lawrence all the way to Detroit Mercy. He was always a supportive, loving friend no matter how much time has passed since speaking last. He will be missed dearly and I pray for his memory to stay alive. Rest In Peace

  • Libby Augugliaro. ❤️ 

  • Emily Rapp, $30. the world will miss the heart of Denis ❤️

  • Ben Falik, $18. Denis was part of the Summer in the City "do-ocracy" and his memory will be a blessing to our campers and volunteers.

  • Nawrooz Putris, $110.