PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When John Owen Habib and John Perik went fishing, they never caught anything.
That didn’t matter—they fished to spend time together.
Perik, who graduated with Habib in 2020 from the Portsmouth Abbey School, told 12 News the two went fishing almost every day in the summer.
“He’ll be fishing in heaven for a long time until I can join him, and he’ll be catching a lot of fish,” Perik said Thursday. “But if I ever join him in heaven, he’s going to catch none because we never caught fish together.”
Habib, of Saunderstown, died Tuesday morning after he suffered significant injuries in a hiking accident abroad.
Perik, of Jamestown, said the 21-year-old was authentic and genuine.
“He was never trying to be someone that he wasn’t,” Perik said. “He knew who he was, he loved who he was, he embraced it, and I’m really glad he was the person he was because he was the best friend I could have ever asked for.”
Habib was a junior at Brown and majored in Chinese, philosophy, and economics, according to the university. Perik said he was a hard worker, smart, and enjoyed learning.
“[A friend] kind of put it really perfect: John Owen Habib, he’s the 0.01% of people,” Perik added. “He really epitomized what it means to just be a good person.”
Habib underwent several surgeries and was in a coma before his death, according to Brown. A GoFundMe page, initially created by his brother to fund Habib’s medical treatment, raised $232,422. The donations will now be used to start a foundation in his name.
Perik met Habib in 2016 and they remained close friends until his death. The tragedy taught Perik a lesson he wants others to carry with them.
“Never forget to tell your friend that you love them,” Perik said. “Never forget to call your mom or your dad or whoever it might be and just tell them that you love them. It’s a simple task but we need to do more of it.”
Anyone in need of support is urged to reach out to one of the following offices for assistance:
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (401) 863-3476
- The deans in the office of Student Support Services (401) 863-3145
- The Office of the Chaplains & Religious Life (401) 863-2344
For academic support or accommodations, students may consult with individual faculty members or academic advising deans in the college.