Community remembers Nick Haverland at memorial (25 photos, video)


Gemma Stoll

Kevin and Kyle McCormick performed a song in tribute of Nick Haverland at his memorial. Haverland was killed on May 11by an alleged drunk driver. Credit: Gemma Stoll/The Foothill Dragon Press.
Kevin and Kyle McCormick performed a song in tribute of Nick Haverland at his memorial. Haverland was killed on May 11by an alleged drunk driver. Credit: Gemma Stoll/The Foothill Dragon Press.

About 200 people gathered together under cloudy gray skies at Arroyo Verde Park on Sunday to celebrate the life of Nick Haverland, an alumnus of Foothill who was tragically hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver on May 11.

“He made a tremendous impact on everyone’s life he met,” family friend Stephen Svete said.

“Nick was so special, a really marvelous person.  He loved everyone he met” said Florence Haverland, his grandmother.

Haverland, 20, was riding his bicycle with his friend Henry Geerlings on Telegraph Road  near Mara Avenue, when 49-year-old Satnam Singh of Ventura hit Haverland.  Geerlings and Haverland were on their way to take a final at Ventura College.

Haverland had planned to attend the University of Hawaii in the fall to earn his B.S. in Biology.

Haverland was a very dear person to many members of the community.  Foothill alumnus Cierra Anderson attended the memorial to honor Haverland.

“Although I didn’t know him well, and although we never crossed paths, by being at this memorial and seeing all these people here shows that he truly had a great impact in the community as well as at Foothill.  He was very loved,” Anderson said.

The memorial service is what Nick would have wanted, according to Haverland’s longtime friend Shawn Shoemaker.  Shoemaker explained that the Haverland family decided to have a memorial service instead of a funeral.

“Nick was the best friend you could ever ask for.  He would’ve wanted this – he wouldn’t want people to grieve, but to enjoy life.  This memorial is more alive and festive.  It fits,” Shoemaker said. “He was like a brother.”{sidebar id=25}

Presiding over the service was Reverend Craig Chapman of All Saints Parish in Ventura, who read Haverland’s “This I Believe” essay.  The ceremony commenced with a blessing by Mati Waiya, a Chumash Indian.  Waiya thanked the East, West, North and South and the Earth for its gift of life – especially the life of Haverland.

Memories of Haverland were shared by Haverland’s friends Stephen Svete, Dylan Blossom, and Geerlings.  Describing him as a lover of nature and a truly caring and inspirational person, those present at the service caught a glimpse of who Haverland was.

Haverland’s cousin and two aunts also paid tribute to him, describing his uncanny obsession for locating and collecting various “creepy-crawlies.”

In addition to speeches, Ashlynn Vaglica sang Schubert’s traditional “Ave Maria,” and Kyle and Kevin McCormick performed a moving song, titled “When You Come Back Down,” which was dedicated to Haverland.

A light rain fell on the hills of the park as the ceremony went on.

“This is Nick’s favorite kind of weather,” said his aunt, Ann Christen, “Unusual for June, but it’s fitting.”

“Nick loved this place; I’m glad that his memorial is here,” Shoemaker said.

Haverland’s close friends at Foothill include Dillon Whitely and Nolan Ferrin.

“Nick loved being outside, hiking, and playing with bugs.  He was obsessed with Warhammer, this board game.  He loved music and art and life,” Whitely said.

“He was a really good friend.  He was always there to help out with problems and talk to on the phone late at night,” Foothill alumnus Jessica Trainor said.  “He could be serious or funny.  He was one of my best friends.”

Trainor graduated with Haverland in Foothill’s class of 2009.

The Haverland family collected written remembrances of their son at the event to make a book.  The family also hopes  to start a field biology scholarship fund in honor of Nick.  Donations may be sent to the Nicholas J. Haverland Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank, 270 South Mills Road in Ventura, CA, 93003.

“I remember hiking with Nick.  The first time I met him he was three months old,” family friend Gary Osborne said, “He was always sweet, a pleasure to be around.  We miss him terribly.”


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