HAMPDEN, Maine — Some of the people who knew and loved 17-year-old Nathan Clark remembered him Friday night as a remarkable young man who gave 100 percent of himself to whatever he was doing at the time, be it soccer, paintball, fishing, building campfires or playing cribbage.
Wearing and carrying glow sticks, about a dozen friends and family members marked the one-year anniversary of his death with a memorial walk of about three-quarters of a mile from the parking lot of St. Matthew Catholic Church on Western Avenue to Hampden Academy on Main Road North. There, at the school he at-tended, several of his friends used the glow sticks to spell out his name and form a cross in front of the school’s bronco statue.
The observance was organized by 2008 Hampden Academy graduates Lora Reynolds, 18, and Jessica Jesiolowski, 19, who were among Clark’s close friends.
“He really was an awesome guy,” Jesiolowski said. “He was very caring. It’s a very hard thing to have happen,” she said of his death.
“He always gave his all,” Reynolds said, adding that Clark was always ready to lend a hand when things needed to be done.
Clark had been the subject of an intensive five-day search when his body was found on March 26, 2009, in a gravel pit off Back Winterport Road. The state medical examiner’s office cited accidental environmental hypothermia as the cause of his death and determined that muscle relaxants he had taken contributed to his death.
On Friday, some of the people he left behind said they don’t want Clark’s life to be defined by how he died.
“That’s not who he was,” said Carolyn Corey of Brewer, Clark’s aunt, and sister of his father, Daniel Clark. “It just goes to show that bad things can happen to good people.
“He was a great kid,” she said. “He had a knack for making people happy and making people laugh.”
Corey said that Clark’s father and two younger brothers were not able to attend Friday’s memorial because her brother had decided to surprise the boys with a trip to Florida to visit their sister. He already had bought the plane tickets when he learned about Friday’s tribute, she said.
Corey said her brother wanted everyone who attended Friday’s memorial event to know how touched and moved he was by the gesture.
“This means so much to our family,” she said.