Even in death they were drawn to him.
Described by his sister Rebecca as "magnetic," Parker Regan's funeral service Saturday drew a crowd from around the country to the Christ the King Church in New Vernon.
The crowd to honor Regan, who , was so large that the parking lots and sidestreets were full of cars and the sanctuary of the church itself was standing-room only. There was no talk of the . The only thing on anyone's mind was Parker.
"It is such a pleasure to see so many of our close friends and family here," said Chris Regan, Parker's father. Chris Regan said the outpouring of support and love that he and his family had received in the past few weeks has helped immensely.
Parker Regan was described as an amazing son, brother and friend who "made it his mission to make sure his friends were happy and taken care of."
Parker's older brother Brendan shared memories of learning to fly fish with Parker and how the love of the outdoors was something they bonded over. That adventurist spirit is what prompted the Regan family to choose . According to Brendan, trips to Alaska created some of the more outstanding memories, as were his trips to the golf course with his little brother.
"Parker had a very calm demeanor," Brendan said. "And we both shared a 'just play' mentality. We never made excuses about the weather or the conditions. We just played. And as we played we talked about things that were not about golf."
Parker's sister, Rebecca, said her brother always had a smile on his face and gave her confidence and encouragement. Rebecca also said she never heard him say a negative thing about anyone, which was one of the reasons people were drawn to him.
"Once you were around him, you never wanted to leave his side," Rebecca said. "Parker loved the life he lived and he never wasted a moment."
Chris Regan said the last few months the family spent with his son were among his happiest. After earning early acceptance to college in Gettysberg and , Parker spent 24 days touring seven countries in Europe.
"When he got home he hugged me so hard it took my breath away," Chris Regan said.
According to Chris Regan, Parker's trip to Montana to play golf and enjoy the outdoors of Yellowstone had him "bubbling with excitement."
In his absence, Chris Regan said family and friends should look to Parker's legacy of love, support and personal growth for comfort. He also said they should build upon Parker's legacy and complete his unfinished work.
"In a sense, he has gone from the youngest star in our constellation to the one farthest along," Chris Regan said.
Rebecca Regan said she was learning to think of her brother in a different way now.
"I will love you forever and with all of my heart. I will never love anyone like I love you," Rebecca said. "I like to think of you now as a little key that unlocks the happiness in all of us."
Across the street from the church, a father and his two young sons sat in the sunshine casting their lines into a pond. Something that undoubtably would have made Parker Regan smile.