More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday at Clearwater Secondary School and by video-link at the Henry Grube Center in Kamloops to mourn the loss of Skye and Courtney Buck, and the couple’s unborn son.
“We are here to show our love, our support and our caring,” said Mayor John Harwood in his eulogy. “The essence of their spirit lives on in many different people.”
Courtney was like her name, said former CSS principal Alan Stel, who acted as master of ceremonies for the memorial service.
“She was courteous, courtly, kind and exuded grace,” he said. “She was loved by all, and especially by Skye.”
“Skye too lived his name,” said Stel. “He exuded kindness, and brought happiness and smiles to all.”
During the ceremony Stel read comments made by students at CSS and Raft River Elementary about the two departed teachers. He also read passages from the Bible taken from Courtney’s computer.
“He always knew how to make everyone smile and encouraged everyone to do their best,” wrote one student of Skye Buck.
Rev. Lloyd Strickland gave the opening and closing prayers.
“For over 40 years I’ve been a friend of the Dekelver and Buck families,” he said. “We’ve had some happy times and some sad times.”
Strickland noted that both Courtney and Skye had decided to follow Jesus during their lives.
“The only thing that gives me hope is to know that I’ll see you again someday,” said Krista Buck, one of Skye’s cousins. Accompanied by Candace Copley, she sang Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney.
Thompson Rivers University coach Nevin Gleddie recalled first scouting Skye Buck at a basketball game played in the CSS gymnasium – the site of the memorial service. He remembered how excited he had been that he would have the privilege of coaching someone with so much talent.
Josh, Justice and Jeremy Buck gave emotion-filled tributes to their cousin Skye.
Some of his earliest memories were of going to visit his uncle and aunt, Brent and Tracy Buck, and playing with his cousins Wynter and Skye, said Josh. He remembered Skye as being as tough as nails.
More emotion was released when the Campbell family sang I was Here by Beyonce.
Rebeccah Molnar got to know Skye while at TRU. She found out that she was going to be working at a summer job with a girl named Courtney from Clearwater and she asked Skye if he knew her, not knowing she was his girlfriend since high school.
Kristine Stewart said she had been friends for more than 20 years.
“Courtney, I won’t be the same, because you made me a better person,” she said.
Bowen Cooluris said he met Skye when they were in Kindergarten and they stayed together through school.
Jeremy Meehan also described Skye as his best friend.
He recalled that one year he was the only person on the CSS track and field team. He told Skye to pick a sport so he would have some company. Skye chose javelin because it looked easy.
Despite minimal training, Skye’s athletic ability was such that he qualifed for the provincials.
Parents Rick and Cathy Dekelver, plus sister Rachel and brother Chris presented an emotional tribute from Courtney’s family.
“Courtney was my best friend,” said Cathy Dekelver. “She knew what she wanted, and that was the love of her life, Skye Buck.”
“The only thing that gives me strength up here is I know Skye, Courtney and baby Buck are looking down and expecting me to do a good job,” said Brent Buck, Skye’s father.
He, mother Tracy and sister Wynter presented a tribute from Skye’s family.
Skye liked to be happy and to be around people who were happy, said Tracy. That meant he helped other people to be happy.
Her brother had been loving, kind, generous and humble as an uncle, said Wynter. He would have been the same as a father.
The ceremony closed with a slideshow about Skye and Courtney prepared by Chris and Wynter Oates.
This was followed by the closing prayer from Lloyd Strickland and concluding remarks from Alan Stel.
A video of the ceremony will be available at the North Thompson Funeral Services website after Dec. 22.
Skye Buck and Courtney (Dekelver) Buck both grew up in Clearwater, went away to get their education and to see some of the world, and then returned to the community to begin careers in education and start a family.
The young teachers were killed on Sunday evening, Dec. 9, when their vehicle went off Highway 5 south of Clearwater and into the North Thompson River. Skye’s body had been found in their vehicle the following day. Courtney’s was missing until found the day before the memorial service.