CROWN POINT — Next to a lone motorcycle helmet sat an open book with a sign, “Please write down your favorite memory.”
When it comes to times shared with 17-year-old Clayton Gaudry, the recollections were many.
From family vacations to four-wheeling with friends, the book's pages began to fill with photos and stories, one by one.
However, there was much more ahead for the Crown Point High School student, his family and friends said.
Several people gathered Thursday evening at Living Stones Church in Crown Point for family visitation and to remember Gaudry, of Crown Point, who was rear-ended by a truck while on a motorcycle on U.S. 231 on the night of May 7, police said. He died four days later at a hospital in Chicago surrounded by family and friends.
“He was the golden boy,” said his aunt, Juanita Lunsford. “He was one of the best kids you'll ever meet. I can't understand how something like this could happen to him.”
Lunsford said her nephew, a dedicated student, had a bright future. Today, she remembered him by bringing his favorite homemade treat to the visitation.
“He would go straight to the kitchen and say, 'Where's the brownies, Tia?' So I baked a batch of brownies to bring today,” Lunsford said. “We've got to get through this together. We're holding each other up and relying on our faith.”
A slideshow and framed photos showed the teen from his childhood to high school years. His friends remembered his laugh, his kindness and his vivaciousness.
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“He was my best friend,” Indy Zelasko said. “He was the one person you could go to. You could be completely sad and down but when you go to Clayton's house, you end up having a great time. He always put us before himself. He was a great person and I'll never get over his work ethic.”
Haylee Keller said Gaudry treated her like a sister.
“I didn't realize he knew so many people,” Keller said. “I knew he was popular, but didn't know he was this popular.”
Family friend Joanna Leciejewski made shirts, decals, bracelets and candles to give Gaudry's loved ones meaningful mementos and raise money for the family. The shirts and decal stickers said: “Look twice, save a life. In loving memory of Clayton Gaudry,” along with the silhouette of someone riding a motorcycle.
“They're just so thankful. A lot of people wore their shirts today and want to wear them tomorrow, too,” Leciejewski said. “Clayton was such an amazing person.”
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Living Stones Church, at 909 Pratt St. in Crown Point. Pastor Ron Johnson Jr. will be officiating. The interment will follow at the City of Crown Point Historic Maplewood Cemetery.
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CROWN POINT — A 17-year-old Crown Point boy was in critical condition after he was rear-ended while on a motorcycle Tuesday night by the driver of a pickup truck on U.S. 231, police said.
VALPARAISO — Tension ran high in Porter Superior Court as families and friends of two dead teens came face to face with the Valparaiso man accused of murdering them and burning their bodies.
HAMMOND — A Missouri man was arrested Sunday afternoon on drug and fraud-related charges after police stopped him for weaving along Interstate 94.
LAKE COUNTY — Checkpoints will be set up this week starting Thursday in Lake County targeting impaired drivers.
PORTAGE — The Porter County coroner's office is investigating the death of a 24-year-old Portage man found unresponsive at his home early Wednesday.
CROWN POINT — A Gary mother could avoid prison time if a judge accepts her guilty plea to a neglect charge alleging she left her children unattended in a room with crack cocaine and a gun just before her 2-year-old daughter was fatally shot.
MERRILLVILLE — A Crown Point man has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to driving drunk in a crash that killed a 62-year-old man.
GARY — Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince pulled off an upset victory Tuesday night, dethroning Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.
PORTAGE — A 35-year-old Portage man rolled his car three times along a local stretch of U.S. 20 Friday night and then got out and attempted to hide a bag of marijuana by burying it in a nearby drainage ditch, police said.
CROWN POINT —Charges filed Saturday allege a Chicago man shot his girlfriend in the chest last week in East Chicago during an argument that began over spilled wine.
WEST CREEK TOWNSHIP — A man reported missing in April was found dead Sunday not far from his home, officials said.
GARY — A woman sprayed a man with a mace-like substance as he sat next to his 5-year-old after the man cut her in line at a gas station, police say.
VALPARAISO — A former assistant diving coach at Portage High School faces a four-year prison term after pleading guilty Tuesday to having sex with two female students and possessing partially-nude photographs of each girl when he was 18 and 19.
GRIFFITH — The Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at a Griffith residence, officials confirmed.
Crown Point's many antique stores draw buses full of shoppers from far and wide, but some of their options on the courthouse square are fading away into nostalgic memories.
PORTAGE — Police responded to three drug overdoses, two which were fatal, in less than 24 hours, the Portage police chief said.
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — A woman was sleeping on a couch in her family room early Friday when the window above her shattered by what turned out to be a paintball, according to Porter County police.
GARY — The Lake County Coroner is working to determine the cause and manner of death of a Gary man that died Saturday evening.
HAMMOND — A man found dead Tuesday inside a fenced area at a business has been identified as a city resident, according to the Lake County coroner's office.
EAST CHICAGO — A dog owner is asking for the public’s help in bringing home her bully mix puppy after it was allegedly lured with treats and stolen from her backyard.
MERRILLVILLE — A missing man believed to be in danger has been found by family, police say.
MERRILLVILLE — First responders worked to extricate a driver from a car-versus-semi-trailer crash Thursday night, police said.
The Lee County Sheriff's Department in Florida arrested a Hobart man identified in April by Hobart Police as the suspect in an attempted armed robbery at Foremost Liquors.
HAMMOND — A Region man's home invasion scheme was thwarted by police, court records say.
HAMMOND — Police asked for tips about a hit-and-run driver who caused a crash Saturday that injured two people.