Connor Lake remembered

 

Last updated 2/28/2023 at Noon



This is the story of a kind, caring young man, Connor Lake, who died by suicide in November of 2019. He left behind a shocked, grieving family and countless friends. But this story is also about his family and the gratitude, forgiveness, and blessings found in sorrow.

If you’re having thoughts of suicide or struggling from the loss of someone you love who died suddenly, there are resources available to you. As sad as it is, this is a story of hopefulness. Anyone can have thoughts of suicide, but we may not know who those people are. Learning what the signs are and accessing help can make all the difference.

Connor’s father, Jeff Lake, moved to Central Oregon when Connor was in high school. Connor loved Sisters. He enjoyed the changing weather, the snow, mountains, and spending time on the water.

“It was a place of healing for Connor in a special community,” said his father.

Connor loved being on a team and was into sports like tae kwon do, baseball, basketball, and football. When he was 11, he played on an All-Star baseball team that competed in a World Series. But his number-one passion was riding dirt bikes.

“When he was little, I got him and his younger brother dirt bikes. He loved the freedom, adrenaline, and power of going fast. But he was always very safe,” said Lake. “Connor loved his brother, Austin, and sister, Jenna, step-siblings, and had friends from all walks of life. People easily gravitated towards him.”

“When he passed, Connor was almost 6-foot-9. He was this big teddy bear,” said Lake. “He loved little kids and was a big jokester. We miss his humor. It was never a dull moment with Connor. From childhood on, he had a giving heart. If it snowed, he’d shovel the driveways for neighbors who needed help and didn’t want anything in return,” he said, smiling.

After moving with his family from Eugene, Connor had a lot of injuries because he grew seven inches in a short amount of time.

“Even though he kept getting injured and couldn’t play a lot, he was still the glue that kept his basketball team together. He was a leader,” said Lake.

After graduation, when Connor wasn’t working at Outlaw Auto Detailing with his mentor, Desmond Boots, he loved spending time with his sister, Jenna, and brother, Austin. They went for rides in the mountains in his truck with country music playing.

“He was an awesome stepbrother to my wife, Corrie’s, son Jordon too. I’m grateful that Austin and Jenna have another brother… it’ll never fill Connor’s shoes but it’s nice they have each other,” said Lake.

Connor loved life; that’s why his passing was such a shock to everyone.

“When he went missing, we thought there was foul play at first,” said Lake. “One thing I’ve learned is that for young men their frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until they’re about 29, and that fight-or-flight region can be tough for them. He would never want to leave any of us or his brothers or sister or hurt us.”

Connor was reported missing on Friday, November 22, 2019. He was found the following Sunday in his truck on Cache Mountain. His truck’s hazard lights were flashing, which eventually caught the attention of a pilot searching for Connor. Seeing the flashers gave searchers hope he might be alive. But when Lake and his pastor arrived at the scene, Connor was gone.

After Connor’s death, his family asked people to make donations to the Elrod Center in Eugene. A room has been set up in Connor’s memory. The center helps kids with trauma and suicide issues using art and animals. Everyone is welcome regardless of their ability to pay. Contact information for the Elrod Center is in the resources sidebar.

 

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