Thursday, July 24 2014 11:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:46:21 GMT
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night.More >>
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night. More >>
July 2, 2007
Albany -- Billy Klewitz was laid to rest Monday, before hundreds of people who gathered at a church in to remember him.
For the many friends and family of the 21-year-old, the day was surreal. "It's just sad to see him go," said one mourner. "He was at the wrong place at the wrong time."
"It's like something out of a movie. It's like a tragedy that could have been prevented," said Breanna Bolton.
From friends to co-workers who knew Billy well, saying good-bye to one of the nicest guys they ever knew is far from easy. "He's gone. I don't think he realizes how many people he affected." Bolton said.
"He was actually more than a friend. He was like a brother," is how one remembered him.
"He was just a sweet teddy bear of a thing. You could never get him mad." Jackie Corbitt was Billy's was boss at the Lee County Winn Dixie where Billy had worked since he was 14.
She spoke to him minutes before he was killed. "I talked to him as he was getting ready to leave that night. I told him 'bye.' I always tell everybody drive home safe. And it just kills me, I should have stayed longer and talked to him" Corbitt said.
But through the sorrow, Billy's presence is still strongly felt-- especially around the grocery store he once worked. "I still see him walking to Winn-Dixie to the deli all ready to get off of work," says Breanna Bolton.
"His presence is there everyday, if you walk to the Deli, and if you walk to the front door," says Corbitt.
And if Billy could see loved ones paying their final respects to this ambitious rock musician, friends know exactly what he'd be thinking.
"One time to me, he said to me, 'Man, I'm not popular.' You look at him now, and he is real popular," another friend said.
"He'd be telling everybody, 'Don't make such a big fuss' over him. He say ‘Just go on about, 'rock-n-roll,'" said Corbitt.
Yet, the turn out for his funeral proves that he'll truly be missed. At the funeral, Billy's band played one last song in honor of their band-mate. Over the weekend, Billy's friends set up a shrine in his memory in the Winn Dixie parking lot.