Those who knew Lloyd Jake Beare remembered him as a free spirit with a good-natured personality, a passion for exploration and a love of athletics.
They are now stricken with grief as they mourn the loss of Beare, a recent graduate of Santa Monica High School who died Monday at the age of 19.
“He was a really good kid, hard-working, a delight to have around,” said Zohar Abramovitz, who coached Beare in the Marina Del Rey-based Marina Aquatic Center junior rowing program. “He was always helping out and very popular with his teammates.”
Beare was reportedly attending college in the Seattle area, according to Abramovitz, and his passing was recorded in King County in Washington state. A cause of death could not be immediately confirmed.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding drive in Beare’s honor had raised more than $16,000 as of Thursday morning, with many donors leaving loving messages for Beare’s mother, Tanja Elliott. A memorial for Beare is being planned.
Samohi is offering grief counseling to students and staff, according to Santa Monica-Malibu school district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.
“We are devastated by this news and all shocked and deeply saddened,” said principal Eva Mayoral, who has been in touch with Elliott. “I encourage students, teachers and staff to be there for one another and join me in sending love and prayers to Jake’s family and friends.”
Born Nov. 4, 1996, Beare graduated from Canyon Charter School before entering SMMUSD at Lincoln Middle School.
Beare joined the wrestling program upon starting Santa Monica High School, qualifying for CIF-level competition as a freshman.
“The skill of all the wrestlers there was at a whole new level and it really tested me,” he told the Samohi student newspaper in 2012. “However, I was very prepared thanks to my coaches and the upperclassmen on our team.”
Beare left briefly for Texas, continuing his wrestling career while attending Westlake High School near Austin. He reunited with the wrestling team when he returned to Samohi as a junior. He graduated in 2015.
Beare took up rowing as a senior in high school, Abramovitz said, because it was less taxing on his knees than other sports. And although Beare was only involved in the MAC rowing club for a short while, Abramovitz said, he left an “indelible mark” on the team.
Kieran Kerwin, a childhood friend, recalled watching his first PG-13 movie and playing capture the flag with Beare. The two were study partners for Advanced Placement courses in U.S. history and statistics.
Kerwin remembered when Beare cut the entire lunch line on the first day of kindergarten, earning him the nickname “Jake the Cutter.”
“I’ll never forget my first friend,” Kerwin wrote in a tribute on Facebook. “I’ll never forget your loving personality, distinct laugh, incredible willpower, and most of all, your kind soul.”
Beare also enjoyed supporting local businesses. He regularly worked out at Box ’N Burn on Lincoln Boulevard before school, made sure to take out-of-town visitors to Bay Cities for sandwiches and frequented The Slice on Ocean Park Boulevard for pizza because it was close to his house.
Friends and peers expressed their grief on social media.
“I will never forget the memories that we shared,” rowing teammate Luc Zarco said.
Added Samohi alumna Layla Parvis: “I have no words for this tragedy, but we lost a special kid too soon.”