Former Juneau resident Andrew Patrick Williamson died May 20, 2010 in a drowning accident in Haines. He was 14.
Andrew was born Feb. 28, 1996, in Deland, Fla. to Larry and Chetra Williamson. He was their only child. The family moved from Florida to Juneau five years ago, eventually migrating northward to Haines after four years.
Friends and family members from Haines said he was a good-natured and quiet youth who quickly made friends after moving there last year.
"We made extra arrangements to get him here early so he wasn't the new guy at the high school," said Larry Williamson, Andrew's father. "Ever since he was born, I wanted to bring him back up here because this is the best place in the world. I wanted him to grow up in Haines."
Williamson said his son was a natural athlete who pitched and played second base on Juneau Little League All-Star teams. He was an all-tournament basketball player for Haines junior high last year.
"He was a great player, tremendously fast, and a good listener," said coach James Sage. "He was going to be a great asset to the Glacier Bears (high school team)."
Andrew's golden retriever was named Kobi, for a fishing trip Williamson and his dad made three years ago near Yakobi Island on Cross Sound, where they limited out on cohos. But it also came to mean Kobe Bryant, Andrew's favorite pro basketball player.
"If you explained something to him like it was a basketball tournament or the World Series, he'd understand it," Larry Williamson said.
On Sunday, dozens of Andrew's schoolmates came to his family's home, bringing a signed basketball and a Kobe Bryant jersey. It was fitting, Larry Williamson said, because Andrew typically traveled with a half-dozen classmates. "They were all a gang. They hung out here all the time."
Friends, including ones who only recently got to know Andrew, left messages on his Facebook page this week.
"Happy one-month friendship anniversary, buddy," wrote Rhawni Lewis. "While I'm celebrating about it, I hope you are in heaven."
Said classmate Jamie Messerschmidt: "You will be missed by everyone who has met you. You were a great guy and an even better friend."
Andrew Williamson is survived by his parents; grandmother, Esther Jhingoor of Orange City, Fla.; sisters, Vanessa Alfred of Jersey City, N.J. and Karen Hilton, of Deltona, Fla. and eight aunts and six uncles including Linda Williamson Purcell of Nashville, Tenn., Darshenee Bharrat of New Jersey and Shashe Jhingoor of Charlotte, N.C., as well as numerous cousins, including cousin Janis Bolton of Orlando, Fla.
Purcell, Bolton, Bharrat and Shashe Jhingoor attended the memorial service, held last Thursday, June 3, 2010, at 2 p.m. in Haines.