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Westfield Teen Who Died From the Flu Honored at Sunday Vigil (VIDEO)

Mark Hollaway was liked by all who knew him, friends recalled.

Family, friends, and classmates shared their sorrow, grief and fond memories at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in honor of Mark Hollaway, 14, who died from the flu.

The Westfield High School freshman was remembered as quiet and a bit shy but with a ready smile and a generous spirit. His godmother, Yolanda Davis, said the support of those who came out to pay tribute to the boy she described as like her own son was a "blessing."

Lanre Badmus, who organized the vigil as well as a Facebook page RIP Mark Hollaway as a tribute to the friend he was still just getting to know, described Hollaway as "one of those rare kids who made a good impression on everyone." 

"He was his mother's only child," Badmus said through tears. "I can't even imagine what his family is going through right now." 

Friends agreed Hollaway's passing has reminded them to let each other know how much they care. Several recalled saying goodbye to the teen on Friday, Jan. 11 saying, "See you Monday" never thinking they wouldn't have that chance. 

"You've got to let people know how much they actually mean to you," said a classmate.

While Hollaway's is the third flu-related pediatric death in New Jersey this season, his has been reported to be the first without an underlying condition.

In a statement issued Wednesday, WHS Principal Peter Renwick said, "My heart goes out to the student’s family and friends. Our teachers and counselors are ready to provide support and guidance to classmates as we grieve this loss together."

Funeral services for Hollaway will convene at noon on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Christian Pentecostal Church, 971 Clinton Ave., Irvington, N.J. Visitation is from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Visit http://www.plintoncurry.com/ to sign the guest book or for additional information.

Mitch Slater January 21, 2013 at 11:09 PM
This might be the most racist comment I have ever heard. Shame on you whoever you are. I do not believe this is the "South Westfield" I have debated with- She/He would never sink this low. And Patch- if this is not inappropriate- I don't know what is..
South Westfielder January 22, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Mr. Slater, you are incorrect. The comments made by Southern Westfielder are not from South Westfielder (or at least this one). There have been several comments made by those pretending to be South Westfield, especially as it relates to this child's passing that have been disgraceful. I have reported the disgusting comments to The Patch and had as many as could be found removed. More happened to show up today.
South Westfielder January 22, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Mr. Slater, I Should have read your comment more closely. You did correctly state that South Westfielder (the real one) did not write such disgusting and racist remarks. Not only have I contacted Patch myself to report the abuse, but I have changed my name. Any South Westfielder name that is still out there is not me. The Patch has been very helpful and removed the ugly posts that we could find.
Elizabeth Alterman January 22, 2013 at 01:00 AM
A comment above has been deleted. We ask that readers, out of respect for the Hollaway family, choose a different forum for discussions about residency and school enrollment. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor, please do so by sending it to liz.alterman@patch.com Thank you, Liz
mitch walker March 31, 2013 at 11:55 PM
It seems so unfair that death should have the power to take away someone you love.And when it happens, the thought of never again being able to talk to, laugh with, or hold your love one can be most difficult to bear! That pain is not necessary erased by being told that your love one is up in heaven. The Bible however, holds out a much different hope. It indicate that it is possible to be reunited with your dead loved one in the near future, not in an unknown heaven but right here on earth under peacful, righteous conditions with perfect health never having to taste death again (mankind number one enemy). Wishful thinking some may say. To believe in a promise, you would need to be certain that the one making the promise is able and willing to fulfill it. Please turn to John 5:21, 28, 29. Jesus promised that millions now dead will live again including (Mark Hollaway) under peaceful, paradisaic conditions. Since Jesus made the promise, it is safe to assume that he is willing to fulfill it..

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