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Memorial honors Linda boy, 3, who died in accident
FUNDRAISER: The family of Tristan Wolchete-Clark will have a fundraiser spaghetti dinner for funeral expenses from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Friday at Mom's Diner, 5915 Lindhurst Ave., Linda. Tickets are $6 per person.
FUNERAL FUND: Family members have also set up an account for expenses at Sierra Central Credit Union, under the name "Memorial Fund for Tristan Wayne Clark." The account number is #449921, and donations by mail must be sent to the Marysville branch.
VIEWING: A viewing for Tristan will be on April 21 at Lakeside View Mortuary in Marysville. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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Under skies that threatened to rain but never did, friends and family gathered Wednesday evening in Linda to remember a 3-year-old boy who loved french fries, figured out a remote control helicopter before his dad did, and died in a tragic, sudden way.
About 50 people gathered under a tree on Alpine Way to light candles and shed tears for Tristan Wolteche-Clark, who died Monday after his older brother accidentally backed over him in a pickup while Tristan played in the driveway.
His mother, Tonya Wolteche, said she hoped the vigil would be a happy event.
"He was so full of life," she said. "It would be hard not to have something in memory of my son."
A space under the tree and along a fence quickly filled with stuffed animals, crosses, balloons and prayer beads. Many people gathered in small groups and talked quietly, while others stood by themselves, eyes red.
His father, Gary Clark of Linda, played a Kid Rock album on a car stereo, with family members recalling it was one of the boy's favorite bands to rock out to. "He didn't want to eat or sleep," Clark told a consoling friend of his son. "He just wanted to play."
Nearby, another man sighed loudly as he lit a cigarette. "It's rough," he said, perhaps to himself. "It really is."
Many of the people at the vigil said they hoped it would bring some comfort to the family, especially his brother, Steven Cole McGee, 19. "I'm hoping he gets help," said Carol Wolteche of Olivehurst, Tristan's grandmother. If she could, she said, she'd tell Steven she loved him, and didn't blame him. "It was an accident."
With a gray hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, McGee hovered at the edge of the vigil with friends. He didn't speak, and a friend waved away a reporter.
While darkness fell, people began lighting votive candles and putting it around the shrine. Shortly, everyone gathered more closely under the tree, and Tristan's stepmother, Patricia Mobley, read a poem, "When God Calls Her Children Home."
"My sister sent it to me," she said afterward. "I felt the family needed it."
Tristan's other grandmother, Patricia Clark of Live Oak, said she believed that in heaven, Tristan's candle wouldn't stay lit because so many people's tears were putting it out. "We've got to remember the good times with him," she said. "He was joy and happiness."
For other speakers, remembering Tristan's good points were easy. His mom recalled the boy quickly figuring his was around locks on the refrigerator door, while his dad said he was dumbfounded when his son mastered a remote-control helicopter quickly.
And grandfather Richard Tafoya, of LIve Oak, said the way Tristan called his name, "it would bring me to my knees."
After the speakers concluded, some friends and family stepped forward and rearranged the candles.
When they finished, the candles were in the shape of a heart. None had gone out.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786.Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.