Friends and family gathered on the Viking tennis courts at Arlington Lamar High School Sunday to remember 17-year-old John Cookson, who died in a kayak accident last week.
“He knew he was good-looking. He knew he was funny,” said his girlfriend, junior Evangelina Castro. “He knew what he was — he was really amazing.”
She said Thursday would have been their five-month anniversary.
The Lamar junior was kayaking with two fellow tennis players Wednesday in Arlington’s Village Creek when his kayak flipped in rough water. His friends held onto him in the water until first responders arrived and found him unconscious, Arlington fire officials said.
Cookson died later that night at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled his death an accidental drowning.
He would have made it to the starting lineup in his senior year, junior varsity Coach Lane Canon said.
Cookson also played in the school orchestra and was a parking attendant at Globe Life Park in Arlington for the Texas Rangers.
Students Sunday night wore T-shirts with his date of birth and his date of death in remembrance. Those who knew Cookson called him witty, smart and kind.
In just two days, friends and family raised $13,948 for the popular teen’s funeral and to start a scholarship fund in his honor at gofundme.com. The goal was $8,000.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.