GENOA — About 65 gathered under the trees at Mormon Station State Park on Saturday morning to honor the memory of Joshua Spuehler, the 16-year-old Carson High student who lost his life in a car accident near Genoa a year ago.
Friends gathered in small groups around the park exchanging laughter, tears, and hugs on a day that was bright, clear and still.
“He was always happy and he was very strong, just like his dad,” said 17-year-old Kathleen Moskaly, a senior at Carson High School.
For John Spuehler, Josh’s father, the last two weeks have been very difficult. Last year’s events have clouded his mind, but he said it’s time for everyone to move on.
“There are some here today who haven’t let go,” he said. “I hope this memorial will give them a chance to change that. Josh brought us a lot of joy and it’s time to pass that joy on. This is a good day to stop and think about what changes we need to make in our lives.”
Joshua Spuehler died at the scene of the accident June 2, 2001, after performing at Genoa’s sesquicentennial celebration with other Carson High School drama students.
The white Ford Escort carrying him and three other Carson High School students was eastbound on Genoa Lane when the driver lost control on a curve and overcorrected. The car was hit broadside by an oncoming SUV.
Dianne Hale, organizer of last year’s sesquicentennial, said she remembers Joshua well, one of a vibrant and happy young group of actors who had come to share their talents.
“Joshua impacted my life forever and my prayer is that we remember his life and the lessons he taught all of us,” she said. “We need to appreciate each other, love our family and friends and hold them closer.”
In honor of Joshua, the Genoa Sesquicentennial Committee planted a red maple in the park Friday.