‘We’ve got his memories and we’re doing the best we can’

Erin Dean

Wilkes lives on through friends

‘We’ve got his memories and

we’re doing the best we can’

Though Kent State sophomore

Shawn Wilkes may be gone, his

many friends will never forget the

impact he had on their lives.

Twenty-one-year-old Wilkes

lost control of his car while driving

in a snowstorm and crashed into a

snowplow in Streetsboro Friday.

As some of his friends gathered

Monday night to lend support to one

another, many stared blankly, trying

to find words to do their departed

friend justice.

Junior Nicole Klasa has known

Wilkes since kindergarten. She

smiled as she described him as

being everybody’s friend.

“He was just the greatest guy,”

she said.

“He was always smiling and gave

the best hugs. He could be put in any

situation and would know how to

make it fun. He was never awkward

about things and just always knew

how to talk to people.”

While they shared memories,

some nodded their heads in

agreement, some wept and others

just stared straight ahead.

Junior Justin Klasa shook his

head while trying to explain Wilkes’

death. “It was just a freak

accident,” he said.

The snowstorm that swept

across the Northeast this past

weekend presented dangerous

driving situations. Lt. Roy Mosley

of Streetsboro Police Department

said he’s unsure what Wilkes

could have done differently

in that situation.

“He may have hit a patch of

something,” Mosley said. “It

may have not been possible in

this case for him to do anything

once his car started sliding.”

With Wilkes gone, the friends

and family he has left behind

tried to explain the effect he had

on their lives.

Junior Shane Doak said he

hadn’t known Wilkes as long as

others, but considered him his

best friend.

“I’ve only known him for

two years,” Doak said. “But

those were the best two years of

my life.”

Junior Dan Markiewicz,

who played sports with Wilkes

in high school, said his friend

really loved to play basketball

and watch Ohio State’s athletic

teams. “He loved the Buckeyes,”

he said

Even amidst their mourning,

his friends laughed and smiled as they retold a story

of him climbing a roof over

the Fourth of July. His legs got

scraped along the way, but he

didn’t mind. He was enjoying

the moment.

Perhaps what is most difficult

for his friends to deal with

is the hole they feel among their


“He gave the greatest heartto-

hearts,” senior Nikki Fiorta

said. “He just always knew

what to say to make you feel

like everything was going to

be okay. He was the one we

went to when things were

tough. So it’s hard when he’s

the one we want to go to now,

but he’s not here.”

Shawn grew up in a small

town, graduating from Newbury

High School in a class

of about 50 students. Justin

Klasa said coming from a high

school where everyone knew

everyone else, explains why

Shawn’s death has impacted

so many people.

Even though Wilkes’ life

may be over, Nicole Klasa said

he will live on in the memories

held dear by his friends.

“We’ve got his memories and

we’re doing the best we can.”

But it isn’t easy.

As his friend Joel Jenkins

said, “Living is the hard part.”

Friends and family continue

to mourn for the loss of Shawn

as they gather at calling hours

and memorial service today

and tomorrow.

Contact public affairs reporter

Erin Dean at [email protected].