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Hundreds of students and family members gathered in Quincy House yesterday to mourn the death of James "Jay" H. Vanderpool '89, who was killed in a boating accident in June.
After sharing stories which seemed to reflect some part of the 20-year-old's personality, his parents, brother and sister participated in a tree planting ceremony outside the Quincy House dining hall.
The Quincy House resident was being towed by a sailboat when he was struck by a passing motor boat in the ocean near his hometown of Galeveston, Texas, this summer.
Vanderpool was the place kicker on the freshman football team during the 1985 season, and also ran on the track team. He concentrated in Social Studies.
During the 40-minute ceremony, which brought tears to the eyes of many there, mourners remembered Vanderpool as friendly, intelligent and funny. Between stories, a stereo played songs by some of his favorite artists, including Cat Stevens.
Amy B. Zegart '89--the first of about 10 students to take part in the Quaker-style ceremony--said Vanderpool had a "humor of wisdom" and "transcended traditional Harvard categories."
Vanderpool graduated from Ball High School, where he was known as personable and friendly with all the students. He was student body president, and involved in the National Honor Society, debate, soccer and football.
Another speaker, David M. Lazarus '89, said he first met Vanderpool after he returned Lazarus's lost wallet. Lazarus, also a Social Studies concentrator, said that occasionally in lectures, "everyone would be copying things down off the board, and I'd look over at Jay and he'd just be smiling."
At the tree planting ceremony, one of Vanderpool's long-time friends read from a speech Vanderpool had delivered ata tree-planting ceremony for a high school friendof his who had died.
In the prepared text of that speech Vanderpoolsaid, "although it is impossible not to despair atthe loss of a loved one, hopefully wheneverstudents see this tree, they can smile inside andcelebrate the many happy remembrances he gave us.The tree could perhaps allow us to pause andcelebrate life's memories which make it sobeautiful.
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