'The light of Tanner will forever fill our lives'

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter




A public viewing for Tanner Trosko will take place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 N.E. 112th Ave, in Vancouver.

A public funeral will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Evergreen Memorial Gardens.

photoRidgefield High School students Karlie Williams, 14, from left, Tiahna Duprat, 14, and Sierra Lavalley, 15, hold candles in honor of Tanner Trosko, 17, during a Saturday evening vigil in Ridgefield. Tanner, a senior at Ridgefield High School, died in a car wreck Wednesday evening.

(/The Columbian)

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photoTanner Trosko Ridgefield High School senior killed last week in car crash

(/The Columbian)

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Tanner Trosko was funny, sincere and honest.

He was a hard worker, compassionate. He was someone people could confide in. He would have been a great leader someday.

Tanner Trosko was killed in a car wreck Wednesday evening in Ridgefield. He was 17 years old.

"I have no regrets at all in his life," said his dad, Tom Trosko. "He, to me, was the perfect child."

As the sun set in the horizon Saturday evening, hundreds of people gathered together near the entrance of Ridgefield High School, where Tanner had just begun his senior year. As the sky grew darker, friends, family members, classmates and community members held each other close.

Some clustered near the road, circling around a tree freshly planted in Tanner's honor. Others stand before a table covered with framed photos of Tanner, illuminated by the soft glow of candles. The quiet of the rural landscape is broken by soft cries and occasional sobs escaping the mouths of those grieving.

"Whenever times are darkest, we come together to light fire, to bring the light back into our lives," said Tom LaVoie, Tanner's great-uncle.

"The light of Tanner will forever fill our lives," he told the crowd. "Tonight, we light the light of Tanner."

Tanner's relatives each lit a slender white candle. They used their candles to light the candles of the people, young and old, in attendance to the sound of the song "Candle in the Wind."

"Tanner, you were a precious gift," LaVoie said. "A sparkle in the darkness. Our hope for a brighter future. We miss you so much."

With candles illuminating their faces, a handful of Tanner's friends and family members shared stories. His younger brother, Andrew, spoke about riding bikes with Tanner. A friend talked about their coffee dates -- Tanner loved caffeine -- and trips to the mall. Another friend shared how she first met Tanner through text messages after he reached out to her when she was having a bad day.

His stepmother spoke of her love for Tanner.

"I'm so honored to call him my son," she said. "And I'm amazed at how many lives he touched."

"Please let Tanner live on," she added. "He is our angel. We love you, buddy."

As the vigil neared its end, hundreds of voices came together to sing "Amazing Grace."

As the lyrics filled the night, Tanner's dad closed his eyes and raised his hand toward the heaven where he's sure his son now resides with the Lord, whom he accepted into his life as a child.

"I couldn't ask for a better son," he said.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546; http://twitter.com/col_health; http://facebook.com/reporterharshman; marissa.harshman@columbian.com.