An estimated 1,500 people packed the Real Life Church Saturday morning in honor of 18-year-old Collin Charles Gore as a fiercely funny, quick-witted guy who just had to sing the “Beauty and the Beast” film song, “Belle,” when he heard it.
Gore, who died July 4 in a traffic collision just a half mile from the church, was remembered by the friends and family members in a Celebration of Life ceremony, in the jokes he told, the teams he supported and his “infectious smile.”
“It’s amazing to see the amount of love there is in this room,” Collin’s father, Don, told the packed church. “And, to see how many peoples’ lives he touched.”
Once well-wishers arrived at the church on Newhall Ranch Road and found their seats, they were treated to a larger than life slide show of Collin Gore.
Two jumbo-sized big screens carried the young man’s constant smiling face and were flanked with big screens that displayed continuous images of him throughout his life: the baseball player, the swim team member, the graduate.
Only one or two of the photographs shown were of a Collin Gore not smiling.
“We would all rather have Collin with us,” Reverend Steven F. Peralta began his welcoming address. “But it is life that has brought us here today. We lived our lives alongside his.
“Death may have set the date of this gathering but we’re here because of life,” he said.
Gore was born July 11, 1999, in Henderson, NV, and, according to the failed video attempts to get him to stop moving for the camera, he kept moving from sport to sport like a shark as he grew.
He played soccer, basketball, flag football, swimming and – one year – tackle football.
One by one, his teammates took the podium to remember the boy who made them smile.
“Collin was one of those people who could bring a smile to someone’s face just by walking into a room,” Adam Osowski said.
“We played Hart Little League baseball together and I was God-awful,” he said. “But, Collin was right by my side supporting me.”
One of the biggest points of laughter in the service happened as Osowski re-told one of Collin’s jokes.
“He brought so much to the swim team,” he said. “He would walk up to the swimmers and say ‘your shoe’s untied.’ It was joke after joke. He put a smile on your face no matter how bad your day was.”
Collin was a devoted member of the Old Orchard II Sharks swim team.
He played trumpet and tuba at both Placerita Junior High School and Hart High School.
Many who took the podium to remember him, had a funny story to tell about the perpetually happy Hart grad.
His friend Brad Johnson who confessed that he and Collin often sang the Beauty and The Beast song, Bon Jour, as they sat in the car. He told parishioners: “Collin was, by far, the smartest guy in the room.”
About her son, Daleen Buter, said: “I will always be Collin’s mom and that will give me joy and strength in the years to come.”
She shared her own “Bon Jour” story of Collin recently singing along with the cast of a live Beauty and The Beast show.
“The 4th of July will never be the same,” said Collin’s stepfather, Glen Buter. “When we look up at the fireworks it’ll be with tears in our eyes.”
Collin Gore, having visited half a dozen colleges, was looking forward to attending San Diego State University in the fall.
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