This online memorial was created in loving memory of William Bobbitt, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign William's guest book and let
On May 1, 2008 our life changed and nothing will ever be the same again. Our oldest child and only son died while he was at college, he was coming home in one week. But on April 30th he made a choice that cost him his life. It was a result of peer pressure, rugby initiations and poor choices by everyone involved that night. Kiel died of alcohol poisoing. I would like to start by sharing what a dear friend and one of Kiel's mentors said at Kiel's memorial service on May 7th.
By Mark W. Herman
May 7, 2008
On Thursday, May 1, 2008, I received the phone call that Kiel Bobbitt was found dead. Like each of you, my mind began to race, my stomach churned and my heart wrenched. Logic told me that it couldn’t be true. He is too young. I just saw him. There must be a mistake. But, there was no mistake. It was true; and, here we are.
Kiel’s death is nothing short of utter tragedy. This talented, young man’s future was filled with incredible potential. There was no one quite like him. Kiel filled a room with his presence. Kiel’s dreams for who he would become and what he would achieve were vivid in his mind’s eye. Yet, his life and dreams were brought to an abrupt end. What makes this tragedy so much more difficult for each of us is the reality that it was so very preventable. The choices Kiel made Wednesday evening can’t be reversed. These choices are the same choices that many young people here have faced before and may face again. These choices can, perhaps, not be repeated. I believe that if Kiel were here today, that is one of the things he would say to us. His heart for people was huge. Kiel loved absolutely everyone and everyone absolutely loved Kiel. This same love he had for us would compel him to make a plea that we choose to live wisely. Likewise, Tony and Lori, Kiel’s parents, hope that we learn from their great sadness. Their prayer is that we will honor Kiel’s life and somehow redeem his death. They hope that other parents and siblings, friends and classmates, can be spared the unnecessary grief and despair they now suffer. Tony and Lori’s words resound in my mind today, “if only Kiel’s death can save someone else.”
We are understandably experiencing almost unbearable sorrow. However, it would be equally tragic to only remember Kiel’s last hours. For this did not define Kiel. Kiel lived loving life and loving people. Kiel loved God and God loved Kiel. Kiel’s journal speaks of the day that he understood clearly God’s unconditional love for him and Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on his behalf. Kiel wanted desperately to live in this truth; yet, life is so full of challenges.
It is also true that if Kiel were here today, he would want to remove our grief and pain. It was just a few months ago, at another young adult’s funeral within this community, that Kiel did just that for some of you seated here today.
In the hours and days that followed I found myself searching for glimpses of Kiel. I wanted to see and hear him. I poured over photographs and scrapbooks, I read from his Bible and his journals, I’ve listened to stories and read scores of remembrances and testimonies to his life. I’ve wept in pain and I’ve laughed with abandon. For anyone who knew Kiel knows that with Kiel there was always laughter.
Our presence here marks our shared grief and deep-felt loss. And, Kiel would be the first to sense another’s pain. He would have come beside them, lent a listening ear, and offered heart-felt words of love and support. Then, Kiel would have gone to work; because, with Kiel, life was to be filled with laughter, silliness and fun. Kiel did not want; nor would he want us, to dwell upon our sadness. Rather, he would, in that magical way of his, have brought back our joy through laughter. That was one of Kiel’s special gifts to us…laughter and fun. He would have sported some outlandish outfit, done a classic impersonation, put on a silly hat, broke out into song, told a humorous story, or danced a little jig. As one of his friends aptly posted on the web, “God needed someone to make Him laugh in heaven…so, enter Kiel.”
At 5’6”, Kiel was 10 feet tall. When Kiel entered a room, it filled with his presence. It was as if electricity had pierced through the air. If anybody ever deserved theme music to accompany an entrance, it was Kiel Bobbitt. Kiel had energy to spare. He was full of fun and excitement. Kiel was imaginative and creative, spontaneous and dramatic, magnetic and charismatic; he was witty and zany. You know how sometimes in those psychology classes you take you are asked to project your personality onto an inanimate object; such as: if you were a tree what would you be and why. Well, Kiel’s bedroom wall accurately depicts the projection of what cartoon character he would have been. On the wall above his pillow looms a giant painting of “The Taz.” You remember that larger than life Warner Brothers’ cartoon character full of passion and energy. Kiel’s personality and presence was enormous.
That was our Kiel. He was the voice of the Blue Devils, our Grand Master of Ceremonies, the essence of school and community spirit. I’m sure you can picture him now, his face painted blue and gold, bare-chested in the freezing cold, with his hair gelled, spiked and bold…calling to all of us to rise and cheer. You may picture him fiercely defending the 18 and the goal, to the delight of the crowd, as part of our Championship Soccer Team. Perhaps you see him sporting a bow tie and top hat as he sang and danced his way into the hearts of a Show Choir audience. Maybe yours is a memory from our high school stage. You see Kiel enjoying the spotlight, dressed as the King, perched upon a high stack of pillows upon his throne, in the Drama Club’s production of Cinderella. Or, yours is an image of Kiel strapped into his parasail soaring high above Young Life’s Lake Saranac with the wind in his hair, the sun kissing his cheeks, and his face scarcely able to contain his smile as he approached the heavens. This is how I will remember him and celebrate his life. For, Kiel’s life can’t be expressed by a few, mere words or confined to photographs nor can it be limited by the years he spent with us; for, Kiel lived a life that impacted each of us for a lifetime. And, that is how long we will remember him…for our lifetimes.
On behalf of Toni, Lori and the girls, I thank you. Thank you for your love expressed to both Kiel and to them. Thank you for joining in their sorrow. Thank you for sharing your memories. They will continue to cherish you and your every remembrance of Kiel…for their lifetimes. For each of you keep them connected to him.
Thanks to a scrapbook Kiel assembled as part of his Psychology class with Mrs. Everetts, Kiel leaves us today with a few thoughts:
“God inspires me to be a better person.”
On Dad and Mom,
“Dad brings the foundation to our family and always a caring heart to family and friends.”
“Mom always brings good cooking and laundry skills; but most of all, she brings unbinding, unconditional, and unbelievable love to our family.”
On Katy and Emma,
“Katy is so very good at managing her time and keeping active. Katy brings the sarcasm and energy to our family.”
“Emy loves to sing and laugh all the time. Emy brings love and gentleness into our family.”
“Never forget your memories, because forgetting your memories is like forgetting a life.”
Perhaps Kiel said it best when speaking of his Uncle Billy,
“Even though he passed away, he left a loving memory in our hearts and always changed a part of our lives forever,”
So did you Kiel. We love you.
us know you came to visit. We will remember William forever.