Vigil held for South Lake Tahoe teen killed in storm
Family, friends and other members of the community who wanted to show their support for Dejon “Dede” Smith and his family gathered Thursday in South Lake Tahoe for a candlelight vigil.
The vigil came a week after Smith left his home on Dec. 11 and didn’t return. His body was found two days later after he was struck by a tree blown down in the windstorm.
Through tears and sobs, Smith’s mother, Taneka, and father, Deshawn, Smith repeatedly thanked those present for their words.
“We really appreciate everyone coming out here and showing all the love and support that everyone has been giving me and Deshawn,” Taneka said. “We love you Dede.”
Mostly everyone who wanted to speak had the opportunity, and most people dedicated their moments with the microphone to remembering times they spent with Dejon.
During the ceremony, his life was told in snippets that included anecdotes from his childhood through the days prior to his death.
A cousin from Stockton recalled the games they played as children and how those few days they spent together were the most fun he had.
“I don’t think I’m going to come back to Tahoe, ever,” the cousin said.
Many students spoke about Dejon’s smile, about his time on the football team and about the fun likeable teenage boy in the classroom.
One student spoke about her first day of school and when she met Dejon.
“I remember he smiled and I was kind of sad because no one was really talking to me. But, he talked to me, he smiled at me and it made me really happy,” the girl said.
As the ceremony began to reach its end, people began to say their goodbyes.
“Rest in paradise, Dejon Smith,” one person said and many repeated as most people began to raise their candles.
With her last words in front of the crowd, Taneka talked about her last conversation with Dejon.
“He told us he loved us … and we told him we loved him ’cause we said it so much all day. Everyday. And that was the last time we got to tell our son, and hear his voice, that we loved him, too. Thank you,” she said.