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Saying goodbye to Jeremy

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ROBERT ALLEN

Times Reporter

The marching band flanked each side of the walkway, forming two long straight lines across the school courtyard. The members stood in silence during this part of the ceremony, the final farewell for their classmate. The drum major held his mace aloft, a salute — and the pallbearers passed through, slowly. 

Jeremy Shawn Lockwood was born Jan. 19, 2001. He died March 18 this year. 

According to Maj. Shawn Wood of the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, Lockwood drowned in a small tributary to Lake Talquin. 

The celebration of life for the 13-year-old took place March 22 in the gymnasium at James A. Shanks Middle School, which he attended. The service was officiated by the Rev. Timothy Cole and included a prayer from the Rev. Jerome Pendleton as well as Scripture readings by the Revs. Debra Love and Charles Flowers. Minister Lois Pendleton presided. 

The James A. Shanks Middle School Band, in which Lockwood was a trumpet player, performed during the service. 

Afterward, many of Lockwood’s friends and fellow marching band members wanted to express feelings about their friend: 

“Jeremy was like a little brother to me — and he had a very tenacious attitude,” said Chauncy Harrison, 13. “He was just a fun person to be around.”

“He was very, very playful,” said Ronnie J Fields Jr. “If there was a room full of sad people, he would come in and liven it up with a joke.” 

“He was like my closest friend and my brother,” said Matthew Bryant, 12. 

“Jeremy was my best friend, and we used to love pen-tapping,” said Justin Bouie, 13. “We used to love hanging out.”

“I loved him very much — and I miss him,” said Catherine Esland, 13. 

“He was sort of a class clown,” said Alphonso Francis, 14. “He made everybody laugh when everybody was sad.”

“He was the best pen-tapper — and even though we weren’t cousins we called each other cousins,” said Ly’Kimbria Jackson, 12. 

“He was the best trumpet player I’ve ever seen,” said Quantarious Coster, 14. “He was better than me — not going to lie. He was a friend like no other.”

“When I heard the news about Jeremy’s death, I could not stop being sad,” said Treveon Adams, 13. “But now I realize he’s in a better place — and I hope to see him again if it’s possible.”

“He was awesome,” said Jade Franklin, 13. “He was my best friend.”

“We miss him,” said Evan Gilbert, Shanks’ assistant band director and trumpet instructor. “He’ll be one of my special students that I never forget. His attitude was superior. He was a very humble student. We had a lot of one-on-one time — me playing my horn with Jeremy. He was a good kid.”

“I took this personally — as if he were my own son,” said Stan Norton, Shank’s band director.

The crowd of friends and family thinned until only a few people remained, mostly marching band members. They lingered longer, sitting together on the campus lawn.

Lockwood was interred at Charity Pallbearers Cemetery in Quincy. 

Norton said the school would be hosting a T-shirt fundraiser to commemorate Lockwood’s life. The shirts can be ordered at the school for $10 each.