A grin that could light up a room and a personality that could change your day.
That's how the South Central community is remembering Colton "Bub" Davis in the wake of the seventh-grader's stunning death Wednesday.
"He was a fantastic young man, a joy to be around, smiling constantly and would go out of his way every day to come say hi," S.C. Athletics Director John Haggard said.
Haggard first met Davis when he was a student teaching at La Porte and Davis, who was then attending school there, was in his gym class. Davis transferred in the middle of the school year to South Central.
"I've had the pleasure of knowing Colton since he came to South Central in fifth grade and I was elementary principal at the time," principal Ben Anderson said. "Colton always had a smile on his face. He was a very nice, caring young man."
Haggard coached junior high football for the Satellites, which meant a reunion with Davis, before becoming the high school A.D.
"It was fun watching him learn the game and figure out what it took to be successful," Haggard said. "Then I got to be the person who checked up on him as an A.D. His dad, (Brett), who is a football coach for us, had me keep a close eye on him because he had high expectations."
It didn't take Davis long to shine his light on his new school.
"I had multiple teachers tell me great stories about how he was doing, how great he was to have in class, and just how well he was doing in junior high," Haggard said. "I was lucky enough to tell him a few weeks ago that I was proud of him for that and I was really happy to let his dad know how well he was doing."
S.C. didn't win a game in Davis' sixth-grade season, finishing 0-9 while scoring just a few touchdowns. This season, they had a huge turnaround with a winning season and a scoring average of over 20 points per game.
"They came back, stuck together and competed their butts off," Haggard said. "It's really been a pleasure to watch him over the past few years grow up and mature into a great person, football player and leader."
I'm told Davis hadn't been feeling well recently, so his family took him to the hospital, where his condition prompted a transport to Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago. Davis' condition deteriorated en route so he was taken to St. Mary's in Hobart for an airlift to Comer. Sadly, upon arrival at Comer, testing was conducted and Davis he was found to have no brain activity. He was eventually taken off a ventilator Wednesday morning.
"He was a great kid and I'm going to miss the heck out of him," Haggard said.
Evan as people of faith, death is a hard concept for many of us to grasp under most circumstances. It's something we come more readily to expect after a certain age, but never to a child. It's the most profound grief a parent can experience.
"The loss has hit our school hard," Anderson said. "S.C. won't be the same without "Bub" in the halls."
A gathering will be held from 3-5 p.m. today in the South gym of the high school for friends to express their sympathies, provide support and share stories about "Bub." Food and refreshments will be served in the cafeteria. All are welcome to attend.