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Project’s co-founder dies suddenly at 28

Christian Doran (c.) attends an event concerning the preservation of the New York State Pavilion a few days before his sudden death. Photo by Alex Robinson
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Christian Doran, a co-founder of People for the Pavilion, who died suddenly from an asthma attack Saturday, was remembered fondly by friends as a passionate and talented musician on his way to much bigger things.

Doran, 28, who was called “Tian” by friends, grew up in Bellerose and attended St. Gregory the Great School during his childhood. He then went to Archbishop Malloy High School, where he graduated in 2003.

He started working for Queens Theater in the Park as a sound technician two years ago, which was when he first became interested in preserving the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, said AJ Mattioli, crew chief of the theater and a friend of Doran’s who had known him since he was 9.

“He was trying to save something that people just let go and became decrepit. He wanted to make it beautiful again,” she said. “That is a strong sentiment to his view of the world.”

Together with Salmaan Khan, Doran and Silva formed People for the Pavilion, which started gaining widespread support since its inaugural event Jan. 25.

Doran, who lived in Maspeth, worked at the theater on weekends and dedicated most of the free time he had to the preservation project.

“He put a lot into it in a short period of time. We certainly wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for his work, that’s for sure,” Silva said.

Doran envisioned that the structure would one day be open to the public and used as an arts center, Silva said.

The news of Doran’s death rattled the group’s members, but Silva said it would not deter them from moving ahead with the effort.

“That’s not even a question. It’s going to be hard moving forward, but we’re going to,” Silva said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of success. He would have loved it. It’s very painful to know he won’t be there to experience and see come to life what he had envisioned early on. He saw something very special in the building,” Silva said.

Borough President Melinda Katz, who declared her support for preserving the historic structure last week, released a statement offering Doran’s friends and family her condolences.

“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Christian Doran,” she said. “I spoke with Mr. Doran just last Thursday during a walking tour I had organized of the Pavilion and was very impressed with his dedication to making sure that this iconic structure is preserved for future generations to enjoy. I know those efforts will continue and I will work diligently to fulfill Mr. Doran’s wish that the Pavilion never be torn down.”

Doran’s family declined to comment before the funeral, which will be held Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Gregory the Great Church, at 242-20 88 Ave. in Bellerose.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 3:53 pm, February 13, 2014
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Reader feedback

Jay from Queens says:
It's spelled Archbishop Molloy, not Malloy
Feb. 13, 2014, 10:15 am
Red the garbage man from Whitestone says:
So very sad . Live everyday as if it were your last . One day will be .
Feb. 13, 2014, 9:05 pm
Ken W from Jackson Heights says:
Only an uptight, arrogant Stanner would point out spelling error instead of offering condolences in this tragic situation.
While many live "Not For School, But For Life", you apparently believe that your excellent education was not for life but for school.
Feb. 24, 2014, 7:32 pm

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