Family, community remember compassionate friend Shane Braselton |

Family, community remember compassionate friend Shane Braselton

Nicole Inglis
Shane Braselton

Results of an autopsy show resident Shane Braselton died last week from severe head trauma, a day after falling off his skateboard, Moffat County Coroner Owen Grant said.

Braselton, who was 20, died July 29 at a Grand Junction hospital after being transported from The Memorial Hospital the night before.

Samantha Johnston, TMH service excellence officer, said previously that Braselton was treated in the hospital's emergency room the afternoon of July 28 and then released.

Braselton was later brought back to the emergency room and transported to a different facility.

Johnston said she could not give additional details about Braselton's injuries or treatment because of patient confidentiality laws.

There had been no public reports of head injuries before the autopsy.

The only information about what injuries Braselton sustained in his fall came from his former boss and close friend, Jim Diehl, who said Braselton called him after being released from TMH to tell Diehl he thought he had a broken collar bone.

- Daily Press staff

Shane Braselton’s family, friends and acquaintances always will remember him in shorts, a T-shirt and a worn baseball cap.

“He always wore that cap,” his mother, Pam, said. “Ever since he was about 5 years old, he was wearing some kind of cap.”

Shane Braselton died July 29 in Grand Junction after falling off his skateboard in Craig.

He was 20.

During a funeral Wednesday at St. Michael Catholic Church, Shane’s brother, Jeff, gave a eulogy that carried the memories of his family and close friends.

Shane’s father, Gary, also remembered his son’s standard wardrobe.

“Even in the dead of winter, dad remembered the countless times Shane left the house wearing shorts,” Jeff said. “He’d offer to drive him, but Shane said he’d walk. He liked to walk everywhere.”

More than 100 family and friends gathered in the church to say goodbye to Shane, someone Jeff called a “laid-back, compassionate dude.”

Shane was born Nov. 30, 1988, in Gillette, Wyo.

From the moment he was born, he wasn’t afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve.

His mother remembered how, as an infant, he loved to count to 30 and would sit on her lap and plant 30 hard kisses on her cheek.

“He loved his family, and he never wanted to leave them,” Jeff said. “And he was never shy about conveying his feelings. He was very passionate, and he loved to skate.”

A friend of the family, Ellen Johnson, said she remembered Shane as a 3-year-old waving at her in church when he was supposed to be sitting still and quiet.

“He used to wave right up close to his face so no one could see,” she said. “People always told me not to encourage him like that, but I always waved back.”

Jeff described several other memories, including at his own wedding, where Shane strutted around in his tux with his memorable smile lighting up the room.

Shane went to Mesa State College for a year before returning to Craig and going to work at Carelli’s Pizza. He told his friends he was having “the best summer of his life,” going to concerts, skateboarding, longboarding and being with his friends.

Father Randy Dollins, the celebrant of the service, talked about the fruits that have come from the tragedy of losing someone so young, by expounding on the theme of John 12:24.

“‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone,'” Dollins quoted. “‘But if it dies, it bear much fruit.’ Shane’s death, though untimely, bore much fruit.”

In particular, Dollins alluded to the donation of his organs.

The lives of three strangers have been extended through the reception of Shane’s kidneys, pancreas and liver, Dollins said.

“There are three families that won’t be gathered at funerals,” he said.

Shane’s family was proud of their son for this, and Pam found it made the tragedy of losing her son a little easier.

“It was very comforting,” she said. “It was so hard, those days in Grand Junction, but strangely it made it a lot easier.”

She said her son would have been surprised at the number of people young and old who turned out to say goodbye.

“He would have wondered what all the fuss was about,” she said. “Because he was just like that.”

After the service, in the basement of St. Michael, Pam received her friends and family with her blue eyes slightly glazed with tears, but an easy smile on her face as the crowd remembered her son.

“It’s been tough, but we had a lot of support,” she said. “There have been phases of sadness, but we’ve had a lot of laughs. And he would have wanted it that way.”

She said Wednesday was a little easier than the day before, when there were visiting hours and a rosary.

After the rosary, Jim Diehl, the owner of Carelli’s Pizza, closed down the restaurant to host a gathering for friends and family to remember Shane.

Dollins said he attended the gathering and was comforted by what he saw.

“There were more smiles than tears,” he said. “It was an opportunity for love to be shared.”

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