Zach Schwartz: a life well-lived
PEACH VALLEY – Throughout his life it was easy for Zach Schwartz to share his passions with others. His funeral gave his friends, family and teammates a chance to share how passionate they were about him.Sports, friendship and energy were key components in each speaker’s reflections of the 16-year-old who was heading into his junior year at Coal Ridge High School.Schwartz died in an auto accident July 4. Three other Coal Ridge students were injured in the accident. Fittingly, the service was held at the high school’s gym. As Schwartz’s body lay in state, surely his spirit approved of the venue where his life was celebrated.
The diverse crowd of well-wishers at Sunday’s service indicated how many lives Schwartz touched in his young life. Rather than being dominated by teenagers, attendees of all ages, school affiliations and residences came together.Adults sat among Schwartz’s classmates. Athletes from Coal Ridge and Rifle High School, where Schwartz attended and played sports before Coal Ridge opened last August, sat side by side.Three of Schwartz’s basketball teammates – Chris Green, Robbie Higgins and Zach Lyon – were among the seven speakers asked to talk about their teammate’s life. They, along with members of Coal Ridge’s football team, honored Schwartz by wearing their team jerseys.”It’s good to see that people care about him,” Green said of Schwartz as part of his reflection. And it was plain to see that many cared about Schwartz.More than 400 people attended the service. Many waited silently in line to bid Schwartz a last farewell.
Pastor Dave Dennis, who opened the service, set the tone.”We are here to celebrate a life well-lived,” he said. Dennis mentioned the service served as a way to “merge the community and draw comfort from each other.”Coal Ridge basketball coach Brian Blair and Rifle High School coach Dave Ziegler spoke of Schwartz’s love of athletics, his teammates and being part of the team.”Zach was one of a kind,” Blair said. “He brought energy to the team, and his teammates would say that Zach was a guy they could go to war with on the basketball court.”Ziegler, quoting from the book of Proverbs, recalled Schwartz as a person who would “sharpen his teammates.”
“He had a lot of heart,” the coach added. Dale Gray, father of Coal Ridge girls basketball player Daile Gray, who got to know Schwartz well last basketball season, possibly summed up Schwartz’s final wishes in his remarks. “It’s been said that Coal Ridge is a little more rowdy and rambunctious. Instead, we like to look at it as being more full of life. Zach would tell us to keep on going,” he said.”So go Titans and go for Zach,” he said.A graveside ceremony was also held for Schwartz at Skyline Cemetery in Silt.
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