ForeverMissed
Stories

1 Year

Shared by Matt Imus on May 5, 2020
CMI, as I look back on the last year, I could have never imagined the pain and heartbreak this year would have. Just weeks before we were in Cali celebrating JT's birthday and grandma. I sure wish we could go back and change that day one year ago. Since then your brother and sister both got 4.0 GPA's (who would have thought JT would do that? ) Your basketball boys stepped up in your memory as you and Nancy got front row seats to every game. Your little brother is growing like crazy, you would love to teach him how to walk, run and shoot! I wish you could teach him that nasty ankle breaking crossover that no one in the state could stop, even though they knew it was coming..... 

We made so many memories in the 17 years you were with us, I wouldn't have changed those years driving you all over the country to play, getting to coach you and the friendships made along the way. You are so loved. Music touches my soul so much more now, I listen to the words and can feel your presence. 

So many new 1st's without you, so many tears, so much hurt and anger. You are missed. I love you son and could not be prouder of you than I am. The tattoo that I know you would think is cool, you filling my memory every time I look down, you will be there. A game you loved, and the cross that redeemed and promises us enternal life in Glory. Love you son #Play4Connor #4CMI

Connor’s story from his Dad’s eyes.

Shared by Brian Parrish on September 15, 2019

Avalanche Soccer

Shared by Alex Arellano on November 5, 2019
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while just couldn’t get myself to do it yet, but here it goes. I played soccer with Connor and for Coach Imus for 3 years. But the most distinct memory I have is of a tournament we played in and didn’t do very well in but I remember it because the trademark “pulling a Connor” was made there. All you really had to do to “pull a Connor” was have a wideopen shot and completely sail it over the crossbar. Some of my best memories of playing competitive soccer will always include Connor and Coach Imus and that is something I don’t think I could ever be more thankful for. 

Brother Keeper

Shared by Clara Cross on June 12, 2019

JT shared his deep love for his brother in the gym during Connor’s vigil. It was a beautiful tribute to Connor. It reminded me of one of Maggie’s last soccer games on Sunset Mesa. 

Connor and JT were reffing, and I don’t remember the outcome of the game, but it was close and hard fought. The Montrose parents around me knew and respected these brothers, so it wasn’t exactly loud but there were some “questions” about opponents and whether they were offsides or not. Since I had no clue what *offsides* actually was, I was doing a lot of watching. Pretty soon, Connor quietly speaks to JT in a super suave way and says “if you move up a little, you may see better!” It was said in such a careful and loving way and meant for JT only, and was another example of the kind of brother and person Connor was. It made such an impression on me, especially after seeing the way they interacted at the Rec center or at our house for dinner. 

I’m so grateful to have met Connor. And I’m so grateful that JT and Sarah have such wonderful memories with this brother they love. As for Matt and Emily, you two put so much love and investment into this beautiful son of yours, and we are all immensely blessed for it. I hope you can see that, and know without a doubt that your love and investment was not wasted! Connor’ life and legacy has touched so many of us.♥️

Constitution Club

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on June 11, 2019

Constitution Club. My son, Trey, is a member of Constitution Club at MHS. An “all-in” member. But the challenge he saw was that membership his first year at MHS sat at around 3-5 members. This year, Trey was determined that would change, and it has. His first conquests were Connor and JT. Once he had them on board and attending meetings every week, he set his sights on as many of the other basketball players as he could get and soon the room was pretty full on a regular basis – according to my son. But it was when he procured Connor and JT that I first remember because he came home so excited that he had roped the two he had first set his sights on. As he told me the story when he first got them to attend with him, I remember saying, with a smile, “suckers.” But secretly, I was loving that they had chosen to join up and share that experience with him.

Basketball

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on June 11, 2019

Basketball. This past year was an interesting year. No seniors on the team, and only eight-nine players for the most part. But what a joy to watch. And what a crew of basketball families to share the experience with – traveling from town-to-town and knowing that there would be a hometown contingency to share the bleachers with. Connor, Sean, and Trey were the three starting juniors this year, and after such an exciting season of watching the hard-working young men of the MHS basketball team enjoy quite a bit of success, I know we were all looking forward to what our slightly more mature team would look like next year. I was so excited to envision senior night and get to see Connor, Sean, Trey, (and any other seniors who returned for a final season) stand together and be recognized for what they had contributed to MHS and, just as important, this rite of passage as they moved into the next stages of their lives to become the men they were going to evolve into. Trey is my son, and I had had the pleasure of teaching both Connor and Sean in Spanish 2, so the contentment at observing their growth and their success is something that is better experienced than explained in words. Next season, there will now be a new reality, and Connor’s absence will leave a huge, sad hole for the entire MHS basketball family and fans every time they take the court.

Just "Putting" Around

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on June 11, 2019

I returned to the classroom, in a new town, to teach after an approximately 13-year hiatus out of the classroom. Connor was one of my Spanish 2 students, and he was endeared to me long before I saw him take to the basketball court that November. So much so that I awarded him a division award for his character and his work ethic among peers who often sought opportunities to pull focus or not put forth their best effort each day.You see, a teacher’s “first year” can be a challenge as we seek to find our footing, figure out class management based on the culture of our new environment, and plan meaningful instructional experiences. In public schools, it is not uncommon to find that some students might not “love” your subject area in the same way that you do or might not always be interested in putting in the time and focus that demonstrates an understanding of their role as a student. But that wasn’t Connor, and I looked forward to seeing him walk through the door every other day when he had Spanish. He sat near the front and I could always count on him to be focused, to ask great clarifying questions, to laugh at the right moments because he understood the jokes I was weaving into the Spanish I used in the classroom. And though he was always quiet, focused, and acutely aware of his role as a student, he wasn’t without a sense of humor. He enjoyed observing the banter and jokes in the exchanges some of the students would have with me and I looked forward to his smile or when a chuckle would escape because I would catch a glimpse of a slightly more light-hearted side of Connor. He never participated because that was his line of respect, but he enjoyed the atmosphere and his strength of character was something to be admired.

Taco Bell Mornings 2

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on June 11, 2019

I loved seeing the boy’s basketball “crew” – a core group that went to Taco Bell several mornings a week after zero hour weights – hanging out last year as I would sneak through the drive-thru before heading in to teach at MHS. It warmed my heart to see my son, Trey, sitting amongst them as a new kid trying to navigate a smaller town and a very different culture than he was used to. So, on occasion, if we arrived at the same time, I would give extra money to the drive-thru attendant to help cover a little of their breakfast (mostly gobbled up by my son). On two occasions, I walked in and I paid for whoever was there that morning. The first time I did this, everyone accepted and said, “thank you.” But the second time I did it when there were just a few of them there that day, and I’ll never forget Connor’s reaction. Trey and another kid said thank you and let me buy their breakfast that day (Trey was always thrilled when he didn’t have to cough up his own money), but Connor did not. I remember him looking me right in the eye and very firmly saying, “Thank Mrs. Schwerdtfeger. I really appreciate that you offer, but I just can’t accept. I will pay for mine.” That was Connor. Respectful, proud, and very much conscious of what he considered to be right vs. not-quite-right. He was not going to take advantage, and I instantly respected the value system that was so clearly ingrained in him and that I saw repeatedly in his body language, demeanor, and actions – on the court, in public, and in the classroom.

Taco Bell Mornings

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on June 11, 2019

We moved back to Montrose just under two years ago and I remember worrying about my daughter and my son, who would be an MHS senior and sophomore, respectively. It can go either way when you relocate kids during their high school years. That’s why it warmed my heart that several mornings each week, when I would sneak over to Taco Bell before heading in to teach at MHS, I would see several members of the basketball team there too. That was their hangout after zero hour weights for a good chunk of the year and I will always be eternally grateful to the boys – Connor, Kyle, Jordan, Kade, whoever happened to go that morning – as I would pull through the drive-thru and see that my son had a “crew.” And even though it would be almost a year before Connor and Trey would actually come to really be close friends, the respect and sense of “team” among that group was such a special thing to observe and put this mom’s heart at peace day after day.

Yearbook 2018-2019

Shared by Rebecca Schwerdtfeger on May 16, 2019

Trey and I had another sad moment this evening... so many melancholy moments lately.

We were looking through the 2018-2019 MHS yearbook and as we came across Connor we reminisced in as positive and upbeat a way as possible. I showed Trey the Constitution Club page, and how he and Connor were standing there doing that ridiculous hand signal that allowed them to give an arm punch to anyone who looked at it. There they were - standing there surrounded by a pretty serious, studious crew, making that goofy signal, and we both smiled and laughed as we studied the picture. But then he brought me to tears when he said, "Man, I wish he was here. We always talked about how we couldn't wait for the book to come out so we could see how many people we could catch." I think it took a moment before the gravity of his words to set in because his voice just trailed off and I saw that distant, sad look creep back into his eyes.
Connor, you are missed...
Shared by Luke Hutto on May 14, 2019

This is Luke Hutto. I had the honor of playing with Connor my whole freshman year of basketball. My favorite memory or him comes in a car. It seems that a lot of people really enjoyed him when he was is the car and that made me even more blessed to be in the car with him all the time. I didn’t have a license and I lived far away so Connor was always the one I begged to give me a ride, and he was happy to. But he always made sure to keep track how much gas money I owed him, I always said I would give it to him next time, but unfortunately there isn’t another next time. One time, right before he dropped me of at Columbine he gave me the grad total that I owed him. I thought to myself that I’m never going to pay this back so I said to him, “You know I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give you money but I’m happy to give your sister a ride sometime.” He parked and right before I got out he sternly told me, “ Don’t ever give my sister a ride! 

Shared by Derik Yarnell on May 11, 2019

My first interaction with Connor was through youth soccer.  I was a typical sideline dad living vicariously through my own son.  My son had been part of a team for a while, and there was this "underclassman" who was going to jump in and help the team out sometimes.  My first reaction was of defense, and no, I am not talking good ball control, I am talking about some kid horning in on what I thought was a close knit team.  He jumped in for part of a practice, and afterward I queried my son in what may have not been a constructive way, and my son said "but dad, he is good".  I still felt like this kid has not earned anything to deserve playing on my son's team, but he showed up for a couple of practices and I could tell he was gifted as an athlete.  My son still maintained that he was "good".  By the first game, I could tell he was more than just a good player, he was an even better team-mate.  He was one of the rare players who inspired confidence in the team.  Everyone felt like they could score a goal while Connor was on the field.  While he had an ornery streak, he really was good for his team-mates.  He earned respect of opponents without being cocky, and lifted all of those around him.  My son had, from the beginning not just been talking of his ball handling skills, he was describing him as a person.  I soon learned that he was only a few weeks younger than my son, and while a year behind in school, it had nothing to do with maturity.  

I have since have been fortunate to watch Connor play soccer and basketball at the next level.  His leadership shined and his prowess as a team-mate were second to none.  I also have had the privilege to work with him as a soccer referee.  Connor was remarkable in his ability to call a soccer game, and well beyond his years in handling coaches and parents. I always laughed when they wanted me to be the center ref instead of Connor.  I know it is because of appearance of maturity (a nice way of saying I am old), but I knew Connor was much better at running a game than I was.  Connor was always fair, but as in every interaction I had with him, I can say without reservation, the best adjective and highest complement I have for him came from my son:  Connor was GOOD.  

I have learned much from Connor, and from his dad about many things including grace, class, and sportsmanship. Some first-hand, and some by example.  My prayers are with you, and if I can help in any way, please let me know.

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