1000 people attended the funeral of AJ Boik, the vivacious and loving 18 year-old with the big personality. He loved pottery and baseball and dreamed of teaching art.
Funeral attendees were weeping as they entered the church.
He was laid to rest on Friday..
The funeral mourners at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Aurora covered all ages, races, influences and religions. He was friends with “geeks, jocks, band members, and teachers,” Hoover said in his eulogy.
None of those differences mattered in the sanctuary, where more than 1,000 people created a black and purple patchwork quilt. While black is the traditional color of mourning, purple was AJ’s favorite color.
His casket sat open in the church foyer prior to the service. The crowd must have known how to connect with AJ — he, too, wore a black suit and a shiny, purple tie.
Some of his friends stood 10 feet back, some gazed painfully into his face, and others placed their hand on his for their final contact with AJ. The stoic silence was broken when a young man — wearing a purple shirt — crumpled into a family member’s chest, wailing. The break in emotion freed up others to bear their grief more publicly.
Resting on top of AJ was his certificate of admission at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design — representing a dream and talent cut short long before it came into full fruition.
The family members, sitting in the front row, closed their eyes and nodded each time the speakers mentioned AJ’s infectious smile, the community support or the power of kindness.
In the front row, with heads bowed were Theresa Hoover, AJ’s mother, and Bill and Susan Hoover, AJ’s grandparents, and his brother, Wil Boik.
Bill Hoover, a former Air Force officer, who sat anchoring the family row, was said to be especially close to his grandson AJ. They were “best buddies.
AJ’s girlfriend Lasamoa Cross, 19, sat at the other end between her two parents, clutching a baseball cap.
Bill Hoover read scripture, and AJ’s uncle, John, delivered the eulogy, stirring laughter with funny memories of AJ. His free spirit, John said, can — and always will be — felt around him.
“He has passed on so much joy to us all,” he added. “And he will always fill my heart with joy.”
There were passion and hopefulness to AJ’s approach to life.
“He was willing to do anything to make someone laugh,” John Hoover said. “What he really brought to the world was goodness.”
Through the laughter and memories, he challenged the crowd to live more like AJ.
“Go out and make a new friend today,” he said.
Mourners were handed cards with Boik’s picture and a poem that encouraged them not to immerse themselves in grief:
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on the snow.