Friends and Family say goodbye to 14-year-old Hamilton boy
Maxwell King (Source: Fairfield Schools)
Hundreds of friends, family and classmates paid their last respects to Maxwell King Sunday who died suddenly last week while playing basketball at the East Butler County YMCA.
Max's funeral at Community Church in Hamilton attracted hundreds of people.
Kyle Gray says he's known Max since the third grade.
"He's the brother I never had. I'm an only child so we went to the Y almost everyday together," said Gray.
Kyle says he and Max worked hard to become better athletes. "Everyday at the Y we'd strive to make our teams. I play lacrosse he played basketball so I just want to play my lacrosse season for him."
Kyle's parents, Kim and Don Gray, say it was hard not to like Max.
"Maxwell was such a nice kid. He never met anybody that he didn't like so everybody just loved Maxwell," said Don Gray.
"He never said a mean thing about anybody," added Kim Gray.
Maxwell's cheerful disposition has left a lasting impression with classmate Chase Baechle who says "He was always smiling, he was always happy and its just kind of like resonated throughout everyone. When he was happy everyone was happy."
"He was always in a good mood and like if you're every sad he would always make you feel in a better mood and even if something was wrong with him he would never show it because he would want to bring other people up and not bring anyone down," said Cierra Place, who had known Max since 7th grade.
Mason Ritter says Max's passing has made a lot of people re-examine the meaning of friendship. "Our whole school since Max died...they've come together. I didn't talk to half the school and now we talk to each other."
Chase Baechle says the coming together is comforting. "There's people that I haven't talked to in years that have came up to me and hugged me and I've hugged them, people that I used to not get along with that now have just all came together."
Long time friend Jonah Robinson says he'll always remember Max's love of basketball. "Me and him growing up we always thought we were going to be playing basketball, become professionals. We'd go over to his house and play games and stuff and practice and everything. We'd try out for teams and stuff and we became great friends because of that.
It was an outpouring of affection from the community that meant a lot to Max's family.
"Just to come here and see the pouring out from the school, the Y, the everything and just see the legacy that Max left. It just lets us know that our nephew was really a phenomenal young man that my brother had instilled in him to become," said Lynn Jackson, Max's aunt.
The tears for Maxwell won't end with his funeral, but his classmates say Max's death has taught them a valuable lesson: That life is precious and fleeting and should never be taken for granted.