Dave Pike always knew his son, Cory, was special.
But it wasn’t until after Cory died Nov. 16 from Burkitt’s lymphoma that Dave learned there still was a lot he hadn’t known.
He hadn’t even begun to know all of the honest and selfless acts Cory had sprinkled on his hometown of Craig in his 20 years.
After Cory’s memorial service, a young girl named Nancy approached Dave with a story.
She told him how she was a freshmen when Cory was a senior.
She was quiet and mostly kept to herself, and every day she had a long walk home.
Cory, the popular, friendly and outgoing senior athlete, used to pick her up every day as she was walking and drive her to her house.
“He never said anything to us about it,” Cory’s mother, J.J. Pike, said. “That was just Cory. He’d never want to be recognized for doing something good.”
At a small gathering Saturday at the OP Bar and Grill, Cory’s family and friends hosted a drawing for a New Belgium Fat Tire cruiser bike to raise money for a memorial scholarship in his name.
During the past several months, event organizer and Pike family friend Brenda McKey said she collected more than $2,000 in raffle ticket sales.
The raffle originally was set-up to help the Pike family with medical expenses.
But, after Cory died, the Pikes decided to set up a scholarship fund in Cory’s name to benefit deserving seniors each year.
The Pikes hope to give out two $1,000 scholarships each May.
“He was so generous,” Dave said. “He would have wanted us to give the money out. He’d only want it to be passed on to someone else.”
Education was important to Cory, who attended Colorado State University to study construction management.
J.J. Pike said he had found the perfect balance between academics and good times, and she wanted other high school students to have the same opportunities he did.
“He got a scholarship or two,” she said. “It helped him out so much in getting adjusted. It put his mind at ease.”
She said the scholarship won’t go to the best athlete or the best student.
Instead, she said they are looking for a good-hearted, good-natured, average student.
The family wants to help other people the way Cory did, she added, and part of that is continuing to believe in what J.J. Pike called an innate trust in other people.
Much of Cory’s life centered on his faith in those around him, J.J. Pike said.
“He just believed anything his brother told him,” she said. “He trusted everybody. He expected the best from everyone, and that’s what he got.”
Nicole Ferree, 14, also was at Saturday’s raffle drawing.
She said she and Cory had been close. She recalled the time when she was at a family gathering at a cabin in the woods, and everyone was swing dancing.
She didn’t have a partner, so Cory went up to her and asked her to dance.
Saturday at the OP Bar and Grill, almost a month after Cory’s death, Nicole picked up her guitar and played a song she wrote about her lost friend.
She sung quietly and clearly as all the ears in the bar turned toward her.
She sung of her feelings when she heard about Cory’s illness in June, and about how she had wished she could help him, heal him.
Her final chord brought tears to J.J. Pike’s eyes.
“If Cory were here, he’d play that song with you,” she said.
But her booming laugh throughout most of the evening showed she remembered Cory’s positive outlook on life.
She remembered the way he didn’t seem to mind if he won or lost football games, and how he stayed out late with his friends to be their designated driver when he was going through chemotherapy.
And she remembered the words he wrote on his Facebook page:
“Whatever happens in life, fall in love with it.”