The family of Apple River slaying victim Isaac Michael Schuman ended two days of memorial services on Tuesday with a celebration of the teenager, a boy who was "an absolute light," said family friend Nicole Hanson.
"He was one of those kids that would pop his head out while you're on the deck and say, 'Hello Nicole, how are you? What's new?'" said Hanson, a close friend of Isaac's mother, Alina Hernandez.
Hanson, who was asked by the Schuman family to speak for them, said Isaac was full of hustle, navigating a busy life, school, friends, his car and boat detailing business, and a love of golf. He planned to play for the Stillwater High School golf team next spring. He was applying to universities with the dream of becoming an electrical engineer.
Hanson smiled as she recalled the 17-year-old Isaac's fashion sense: "He always liked to look nice, polished, clean, no matter what he wore. He could wear sweatpants and make it look good."
Schuman's promising life was cut short July 30 in a confrontation while tubing on the Apple River that injured four others. A 52-year-old Prior Lake man has been charged with murder.
Schuman's death drew hundreds of mourners Aug. 3 to a vigil on the Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater — his family lives along one of the fairways. Hanson said they ran out of candles to hand out as people kept arriving for that first gathering.
The outpouring of support has helped Schuman's family, Hanson said.
"I can't explain to you how much that means," she said.
It's been difficult to believe that Isaac is really gone, she said.
"It's hard to process. You kind of look around and wonder, 'When are you going to wake up?'" Hanson said. "The best thing I can say is if you're sort of thinking about how you should live your life just think of Isaac and be strong, Isaac strong, because he had a thirst for it. His energy was huge."
Family friend Stephen Lund said he had a message for the young people struggling to come to terms with Isaac's death.
"I know that Isaac would not want people to live with grief," he said, saying Isaac is still a person who can be spoken to. "He lives on in our spirit."
Family friend Tim Howard said Tuesday's funeral at Bradshaw Funeral Home in Stillwater was emotionally draining as several speakers recalled their friendship with Isaac. "No dry eyes," he said.
The idea for a celebration of life at the Oak Glen Event Center after Isaac's funeral was his mother's, Howard said. "We've all been down for two weeks now so I think this is a good way to wrap it up. She wanted music, and fun, and food and she wanted his friends to smile and laugh instead of cry."
Tim's son, Andrew, was close friends with Isaac. The three of them went golfing a week before Isaac's death, said Tim Howard.
"He was very smart. Talented. Had tons of friends. He lifted everyone up," said Howard.
"I just guess I want everyone to know what a great kid he was. Everyone in Stillwater's heartbroken."