‘Always a twinkle in his eye’
2005 Basehor-Linwood grad remembered for kindness, creativity
Fresh from graduation, young David Raw didn't have long in the so-called real world. He graduated from Basehor-Linwood High School May 12 and, just one month later, was injured in a vehicle accident.
The accident eventually stole the life of the 18-year-old who friends and family say brimmed with creativity and boundless potential.
"He was a great kid," his father, Gerald Raw, of Linwood said. "He just got robbed of his life. ... He shouldn't be dead right now.
"We were just lucky to have him as a son."
"It's a loss that can't even be put into words," his stepmother, Ann Raw, added.
David Michael Raw, a Linwood native and Shawnee resident, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005, at the University of Missouri Medical Center. Funeral services took place Saturday, Oct. 1.
His death comes on the heels of the passing of classmate Erin Massing, who died five days before Raw, from injuries she sustained in a vehicle accident at 130th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 in western Wyandotte County.
Some BLHS students, like junior Austin Knipp, can't explain the loss they're feeling from the two deaths.
"Right now, it seems like a lot of things are going wrong and there has to be a reason for this," Knipp wrote on his Web log. "Is this showing (us) a sign to be more careful or what? Nobody knows. But I would like to say that David and Erin were really great and awesome people and I'm happy to have gotten the opportunity to know both of them."
Before the June 12 accident, Raw was planning to enroll at Johnson County Community College. His parents said he planned to study engineering and was going to minor in photography.
David wanted to make a career of capitalizing on his creative abilities, his stepmother said.
"He took great wildlife photos," Ann Raw said. "David had a lot of gifts for artistic type things. He had a lot plans. ... It's sad he won't get to do any of them."
Gerald Raw described his son as a "loving" soul who cared deeply about his family and others. And, though, he was genuinely kind, he wasn't above pulling the occasional mischievous prank.
"He always had a twinkle in his eye," Gerald said.
Noah Simpson, a third-year teacher at BLHS, speaks glowingly of Raw. Raw was a student in Simpson's social studies class for two years.
"An outstanding kid," Simpson said. "He was very, very hardworking. He would go out of his way to help people.
"He always had a smile on his face. It didn't matter what day it was or what was going on, he always had that smile with him."
As homecoming ceremonies commenced Friday evening at Raw's alma mater, visitation services for Raw were taking place at the Amos Family Chapel of Shawnee.
His funeral was the following day and approximately 400 people came by to pay their respects. A procession traveling from the funeral home to Shawnee Mission Memory Gardens, Kansas Highway 7 and 75th Street, where Raw was buried, stretched nearly three miles, an observer Saturday estimated.
On his blog, Knipp wrote that by losing Massing and Raw, fellow classmates should take heed that life can be fleeting and that each moment presents a chance to do well by others.
"Life is about love. Humans love. That is the most special thing about living. What is love? ... Love is about caring and being nice to your family and friends. Love is even loving your enemies. Love is showing someone that you care about them. Love is picking up a pencil someone dropped in class. Love is helping people out that have lost loved ones.
"Care about the people in your life. Show them respect and love. You never know when something like this (will happen). Take every second, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year and cherish it because it could be your last or someone else's last."
A memorial scholarship in David Raw's name has been set up for the Class of 2006 at the high school through the Basehor-Linwood Education Foundation.
The scholarship will be awarded to a high school student continuing their education in the visual arts and special attention will be given to those interested in photography.
Contributions can be made to the Education Foundation, 2008 N. 155TH Street in Basehor.
Raw's obituary is listed below:
- Raw was born Feb. 27,1987, in Kansas City, Kan., the son of Gerald and Carolyn Raw. He loved sunsets, and his yellow Labrador, Faith. He also enjoyed the outdoors and his favorite hobbies included hunting, fishing, kayaking, wrestling and golf.
Survivors include his father and stepmother, Gerald and Ann Raw; his mother and stepfather, Carolyn and Tony Sheafer; a sister Brittany Raw; a brother, Jonathan Raw; three stepsisters, Amy, Rachel and Alisha Sheafer; a stepbrother, Luke Sheafer; and his grandmother, Ruth Raw.