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'Jeremiah was a gift from God'

Posted: October 24, 2008 10:16 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Family, and friends of Vasquez High School freshman Jeremiah Lasater, who commited suicide Monday, console one another at the end of his memorial service, Friday afternoon at Crawford Mortuary in Northridge.

 
CHATSWORTH - Family members, friends and teammates consoled each other with hugs at Friday's memorial service for Jeremiah Lasater at Crawford Mortuary.

Lasater, a 14-year-old special-education student, killed himself in a Vasquez High School bathroom Monday.

Vasquez High junior varsity football coach Doug Turner choked back tears and recalled the first day he met Lasater.

"He came out for the football team and I watched him get out of his parents' car and I smiled," Turner said. Lasater stood 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighed more than 300 pounds.

"Jeremiah wasn't the best player on our team, but he tried hard and he never gave up," Turner said.

Lasater lost 40 pounds in pre-season football training camp and learned how to run.

"He wasn't the fastest, but he made sure he wasn't the last to finish sprints," Turner said.

Football transformed Lasater.

"School was hard, homework was hard, anything before football was hard," Turner said.

As Lasater improved on the football team, he improved in the classroom, Turner said.

The crowd spilled out of the sanctuary and into the lobby of the Chatsworth mortuary.

More than 100 people showed up to celebrate Lasater's life, which was cut too short, said Glenn Kirby, senior minister of West Valley Christian Church.

"Jeremiah was a gift from God," Kirby said. He read Scripture and reassured family and friends that Jeremiah's death was not his end.

"I don't like the word ‘death,'" Kirby said. "It sounds like an end to life, when actually it is a prelude to eternity."

After the memorial service, mourners offered condolences to Jeremiah's parents, Jeff and Paige Lasater.

The Lasater family declined to comment.

Michael Daly, Lasater's former teacher, said an interment ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday. The ceremony is closed to all but immediate family members, he said.

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