Friends and family gathered in Weston on Sunday to mourn and remember McCrae Williams, a 19-year-old lacrosse recruit from the town who died during his first weeks of college after sustaining a head injury.
The 19-year-old from Weston died on Sept. 11, a day after he was rushed to the hospital from a dormitory at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he was enrolled as a member of the freshman class. The circumstances of his death, and whether alcohol may have been involved, remain under investigation by local authorities.
“He had a smile and an infectious spirit that transcended all,” an obituary from his family published Thursday reads. “The depth of his eyes spoke volumes. He was compassionate and had an unbelievable ability to connect with people of all ages. His family was the most important thing in his life.”
The Morning Call reports that there wasn’t enough room for the mourners who flocked to the Weston church Sunday where the teen’s funeral services were held. Some friends and family members had to watch by remote video in side rooms.
One of Williams’s friends who delivered a eulogy, Ramesh Nagarajah, said he wore his military uniform from the U.S. Naval Academy to the gathering because it was Williams who told him to accept the offer of admission he’d received, according to the newspaper.
“I’ll never understand the unfairness of the loss,” he said.
Authorities responded to a report of a medical emergency on the campus around 4:22 p.m. on Sept. 10.They found Williams unconscious outside Ruef Hall North, a four-story dormitory on campus. He was pronounced dead at 5:02 p.m. the next day at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
According to the Call, campus officers responding to the medical emergency call for Williams were told the student who needed help had been drinking. The head of the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, where Williams attended high school, said in a letter to parents that the alumnus died after falling and suffering from a head injury.
Police are interviewing students at Lafayette to determine how Williams died, according to the Call.
In the obituary written for Williams, his family said the teen had been recruited to play goalie for Lafayette while only a sophomore at the Noble and Greenough School, writing that “his passion for the game and his determination to excel loomed large on the field.”
The family said Williams’s passion for the sport eclipsed his previous interest in acting. He’d earned the nickname “Hollywood” in 5th grade after he was cast to play a double for the character of Adam Sandler’s son in the movie Grown Ups, according to the obituary. Along with his brother, Chase, McCrae also spearheaded a 9-year effort to collect and donate used lacrosse equipment and uniforms to those in need.
His family said his organs have been donated to several people.
“As a Goalie, saving now takes on new meaning,” they wrote.