AVONDALE >> Raziel Mireles, who died on Aug. 28 in a drowning accident at Nixon Park in Kennett Square, will be remembered as “… a good example of helpfulness and joy. He was never angry or depressed,” said Sister Mary Sorrows of St. Rocco Church in Avondale.
Raziel, 17, was a senior at Avon Grove High School. He swam into the pond on that Thursday evening to retrieve a soccer ball for younger children who were playing. He got caught in the muddy residue in the water, went under and did not resurface, according to police.
Almost a year ago to the day, on Aug. 26, 2013, Raziel’s brother, Uriel, 20, died from an illness. Sister Sorrows said the family was in the midst of a one-year anniversary mourning period for Uriel, having sent up balloons in his memory, when Raziel died.
“It’s like they’re reliving that day again,” she said.
Sister Sorrows said she recalls Raziel with great fondness. She said he was a frequent presence at the church.
“He helped with the youth group and with (religious education) classes. When I contacted him to help, he would come every week,” she said.
One of her best memories of Raziel was a project he undertook in June. For Father’s Day, he made his father a wooden box with the inscription, “It’s not the number of years in your life that count, but the life in your years.”
She said his father, who speaks Spanish, did not understand it, but she translated it for him and explained it, and he was touched.
Avon Grove High School Principal Tom Alexander said when he first received the news of a young person drowning the name was incorrectly spoken or written, and he did not realize until later that it was one of his students.
He said Raziel was a “…good kid. He got good grades and he volunteered at the Garage (youth and community center in West Grove).”
On Friday, at the Avon Grove football game at home with Kennett, there was a moment of silence in memory of Raziel.
Sister Sorrows said Raziel’s viewing and visit with family will be at St. Rocco on Sunnydell Road on Friday, Sept. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. His funeral will be at 7 p.m. He will be buried in Mexico, where he was born, with his brother.
She said the expense of flying his body and the family to Mexico will be a tremendous burden to the family, “But that’s the way they do it,” she said.
Anyone who wants to help out with expenses may send checks payable to St. Rocco with the notation “for Raziel” to St. Rocco Church, Box 1019, Avondale, PA 19311.
Sister Sorrows also observed that in the American tradition when someone dies, people bring food to them. The Mexican tradition is the opposite. The family of the deceased is expected to provide food and drink for those who stop by. She said it is another burden that the family will have to face. “If people could just bring them boxes of doughnuts or something, it would help,” she said.
They live in the Avon Wheel trailer park at 4 Roberts Way, Avondale, just west of Glen Willow Road off Route 41.