Students at Coupeville high school and middle school decorated the rock outside the gymnasium to honor Bennett Boyles, who died April 6. (Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times)

Students at Coupeville high school and middle school decorated the rock outside the gymnasium to honor Bennett Boyles, who died April 6. (Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times)

Coupeville community set to celebrate Boyles’ life April 29

When Bennett Boyles became ill last spring, the Coupeville community rallied to his support. This month, it mourned his death.

Boyles, 12, died April 6 after a year-long battle with an inoperable tumor on his brain stem.

A celebration of life is 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Living Word Fellowship in Oak Harbor.

Boyles became ill in March of 2016 and, after frequent trips to the hospital, was diagnosed in June.

The people of Coupeville responded by organizing numerous fundraisers to help Boyles and his mother, Lucienne Rivera.

“I want folks to know how much we appreciate their support and prayers,” Rivera said in an interview at the time.

Boyles was known for his caring heart and electric smile; his goal was to make others happy.

“Even if he didn’t want to do something and you did,” friend Hawthorne Wolfe said, “he would do it because you wanted to.”

“He was a really good friend,” Wolfe added. “He was very funny, fun to be around. He was also very honest.”

Matthew Kelley, a youth basketball teammate, said Boyles was “nice and innocent,” as well as “fun and goofy.”

Both Pat Kelley, Matthew’s father and Boyles’ basketball coach, and Molly McPherson, Wolfe’s mother, called Boyles “a sweet kid.”

“(He was) the happiest kid you could ever be around,” Pat Kelley said. In the early stages of his illness, Boyles continued to attend basketball practice, “still smiling all the time.

The change in a beautiful, healthy body in one year was devastating.”

Boyles had “the biggest smile; you never saw Bennett when he wasn’t smiling,” McPherson said.

“He had the biggest heart,” she added. “I loved him.”

Bennett Boyles (Photo by Pat Kelley)

Bennett Boyles (Photo by Pat Kelley)

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