PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) — Schoolmates helped fill an Ohio church to overflowing Friday for the funeral Mass for a boy whose city put up lights and sang carols to fulfill his wish for an early Christmas.
More than 300 students from Port Clinton Middle School attended the service at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church for 13-year-old Devin Kohlman. Devin, who had brain cancer, died Monday.
Carrie Sanchez, principal of the school, said students attended as a group or with parents.
His football teammates wore their team jerseys and sat together, other students were servers and a classmate read a remembrance, Sanchez said.
Devin returned home after doctors said he didn’t have long to live, and his community got to work fulfilling his wish of being home for his favorite holiday.
The city put up a Christmas tree and Santa showed up on a motorcycle. Shaved ice mimicked drifting snow outside Devin’s window.
They sang carols outside the family’s apartment and decorated a park with colorful strings of lights, reindeer cutouts and a red “Merry Christmas, Devin” sign.
Hundreds of people attended visiting hours Thursday in the church gymnasium decorated with photos of a happy, healthy youngster over the years and the cancer victim who had lost weight and hair but was smiling.
Several photos and pieces of memorabilia on display around the casket were from the Make-A-Wish trip he took in September.
According to the Port Clinton News-Herald (http://ohne.ws/17y9OrX ), Devin was dressed in a St. Louis Rams knit cap and his Port Clinton football jersey. He held a football covered with autographs.
Kevin Kohlman, Devin’s father, told the newspaper he was grateful for all the support the family had received from the community located alongside Lake Erie east of Toledo.
A candlelight vigil was held Monday at a gazebo decorated in holiday lights.