LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - “His smile, his crooked teeth he had. I just have it in my head," said Kyndalin Byrd, a friend of the late Joe Lumbert. "He was a great person and he will be missed and the school will definitely be affected from it, but we’re such a tight community and we have each other. That’s what’s really helping all of us get through it.”
18-year-old Joe Lumbert was killed in a rollover collision Friday morning in Stephens County.
“Friday night at the football game, the coach lines the boys up and we hug them and we tell them how proud we are of them and he grabbed me and he said, ‘I just want you to know that I love you Ms. Pass and I’m so thankful that you’ve believed in me all these years.’ I’ll always have that,” said Amy Pass, one of Lumbert’s former elementary school teachers.
The Bray community is gathering together to remember their multi-sport athlete and friend.
“His smile. He was always smiling. It was rare not to see him smile," said Tim Whaley, Bray basketball and track & field coach. "And it was one of those smiles that no matter how you were feeling or what was going on with you, you had to smile back. You had no choice.”
“Sweetest smile. I’m going to miss him coming in my back door and smiling at me and him and my son giving me a hard time, making up stuff, and trying to make me believe it," said Vera Budlong, mother of Justin Miller, Lumbert’s best friend. "He was a good kid.”
Friends and coaches said even when Joe could not compete on the field, he was still on the sidelines offering his support.
“A couple weeks ago he got injured so he couldn’t play football no more, but he was at every single practice and every game and he got me through all of it,” said Justin Miller, Lumbert’s best friend.
“He was always there. He was encouraging. You know, he was pretty much an assistant coach," said Marcus Knight, Bray football and power lifting coach. "You know, even last week we’d go to Central Monday night for a junior high football game and you look over on the sidelines and he’s coaching all the kids and telling them what to do and what they’re doing wrong. He was just an all around great kid to be around.”
The Bray community has started selling t-shirts and car decals to help cover the funeral costs for Joe's family.
“No one ever plans or expects to have to bury a child, so the last thing that you want anyone to have to worry about in this time is, ‘how am I going to pay for this?’ Or trying to cut corners. So, it will make the expenses less,” said Kym Vance, whose daughter was in the same class at Lumbert.
The Bray community is also opening an account at First National Bank in Marlow for people to donate to Joe Lumbert’s family.