WARRENTON — Hundreds of people packed the Warrenton High School gymnasium and John Mattila Field on Sunday for a memorial for Timothy Pior, a freshman who many described as a lover of life and his community.
Pior, 15, died March 10 of complications from the flu.
Across the front of the gym were pictures, jerseys and other memories of Pior, an avid actor and athlete. Videos of his antics played on a projector overhead. His friends and family, still raw with emotion a week after his death, came forth one by one to pay tribute. Hundreds had also gathered for a vigil at the Gateway Community Church the night of his death.
“He was magnetic,” said Aaron Cole, the former pastor at Calvary Assembly of God and a lifelong family friend. “If you were around him, you were laughing and having a good time.”
Pior participated in wrestling, football and soccer, along with the high school’s choir and drama programs. Outside of school, he also acted with the Peninsula Association of Performing Artists. Pictures of his parts as Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast” and Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” mingled with jerseys.
Brooke Lilley, a church youth leader of Pior’s, said “Tim loved life” and “left us with something to remember every time we came in contact with him.”
Ian O’Brien, the athletic director at Warrenton, remembered Pior’s exuberance as an actor and his willingness to put himself into uncomfortable situations with confidence, challenging others to do the same.
Pior is survived by his parents, Jonathan and Candy Prior; siblings, Elizabeth, Nicolas, Victoria, Alexandria and Josiah; and grandparents, Weldon and Dorothy Pior.
His father took the stage last in full Indian headdress — a costume in honor of the Warriors’ former mascot his son once donned at a football game to pump up the crowd — to thank the community for the outpouring of support since his son’s death.
“It’s incredible to hear people saying the same thing over and over about my son,” he said. “That means it wasn’t just something that I saw. It was something that everybody saw. One thing he would say if he was here … he would look at you guys and say, ‘Wow, mom and dad; I told you I was big stuff.’”
He described his son as reckless and frustrating but talented, passionate and loyal, tearing up as he thanked the community for their part in his upbringing.
“Many of you spent time pouring into his life in so many ways,” he said. “He not only had us as a family, but all of you were his extended family.”
After the memorial, attendees spread out on John Mattila Field. Jonathan Pior led the crowd in the high school’s fight song before they released about 400 balloons in Timothy Pior’s honor.
A GoFundMe Page — tinyurl.com/timpior — has raised more than $4,800, which will go to support Timothy Pior’s passions in performing arts and athletics.