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Dunn Deal: CdM loses one of its own

The tragedy of teen suicide has hit home as a family and community mourns the loss of Patrick Turner, a 16-year-old Corona del Mar High sophomore.
Shortly after the news spread on Jan. 27 a memorial was created at the site of his death, Bonita Canyon Sports Park in Newport Beach, with flowers, candles, pictures and many signed baseballs at one of his favorite parks and where he played Little League.
The following day, a candlelight vigil was held at sunset at Buffalo Hills Park in the middle of the Port Streets, where Patrick grew up.
A funeral was held with about 1,200 in attendance Feb. 2 at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach.
Patrick Turner. (Photo courtesy of the Turner Family)
At the funeral, Patrick’s father, John, emphasized being “nice” to each other and “inclusive,” before a standing-room-only audience. Patrick’s older siblings, Emily, James, and Brandel, also spoke at the service.
There was a large picture of Patrick in his CdM baseball uniform at the front of the sanctuary and another picture of him holding a fish in the lobby, viewed by mourners as they walked into the church. In procession, there were 125 friends, classmates and teammates, many wearing their Columbia blue baseball jerseys, following the Turner family into the service and as the family exited the church down the center aisle.
Pastor Mark Davis of St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach said Patrick had an uncanny “ability to see through the crowd and find the individual.” Davis said one of three letters Patrick wrote before taking his life dealt with “how everyone seems to be in a hurry” and there aren’t enough in-person conversations.
Davis said there has already been a movement in which students are more actively seeking conversations, “and a movement to notice the individual in the crowd of chaos.”
John Turner added that his son’s death is a “wake-up call” for all to be kind to each other, and to pay attention to the individual who might be alone or seemingly without a friend.
An excerpt from one of Patrick’s letters read: “If there is a kid out there who is alone it never hurts to sit with them or ask them how they’re doing.”
With the timing of Patrick’s passing the weekend before finals, and one of his letters addressing academic pressure, CdM principal Kathy Scott offered any students who need to, the opportunity to postpone their finals.
Scott also called a community meeting Jan. 29 to provide information to the parents about what the high school and Newport-Mesa Unified School District were doing to provide support for the students during such a difficult time.
In the hours leading up to the meeting, word spread that several parents were upset with the school administration and were prepared to come to the meeting “to place blame and to demand immediate change in a number of areas on the CdM campus,” according to an email from CdM lacrosse coach G. W. Mix. “Instead, they got J. T. (John Turner).”
John Turner felt compelled to speak “because he was concerned these parents might potentially derail a valuable health and safety message to our families,” Mix wrote.
Patrick’s father emphatically told the parents at the meeting, and at the funeral, that there is no one to blame.
Patrick grew up playing many sports, and baseball and golf were his favorites. He played baseball at Corona del Mar High.
I was fortunate to coach him in basketball one year. Patrick was quiet, never missed a game or practice, and did everything exactly as instructed, a coach’s dream. In team huddles or meetings, Patrick never looked away or stared at the ground, instead always looking straight into my eyes during those precious teaching moments.
I appreciated his tender heart and how easy he was to coach. We might have lost by one point in the championship game that year, but what I remember is sharing a lot of good times and enjoying Patrick’s smiles.
God bless you Patrick and the Turner family.
Source: Oc Register

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