OKANOGAN “I ain’t here for a long time. I’m here for a good time.”
The strains of George Strait’s “Here for a Good Time” and other songs filled Dawson Gym on Saturday as the life of 24-year-old Charity Rumbolz was remembered.
A crowd nearly as large as those for graduation filled Okanogan High School’s gym as friends, family, co-workers, teachers and others were taken through a range of emotions from tears to laughter. The memorial also served as a reunion of sorts for many members of her 2007 graduating class, who greeted each other with hugs, tears and smiles.
Rumbolz died April 5 when the ATV in which she was a passenger went off Sinlahekin Road and into Conconully Lake. The driver, 33-year-old Cain Bivins, was thrown clear of the vehicle.
“We’re here to pay respect and to show love to her family and each other,” the Rev. Brian Bowes said. “She had a rich zest for living.”
Bowes asked the mourners to close their eyes and imagine a calm lake and a sun-warmed stone in their hands. Then he asked them to imagine casting the stone into the lake and watching the ripples radiate outward.
The stone represented Rumbolz and the ripples represented the impact she had on people.
Bowes recalled Rumbolz as a child attending his church camp and said, “God doesn’t cause bad things to happen. He grieves with us.”
He read a letter from Rumbolz’s father, Rod Rumbolz, remembering his daughter, who had worked with him for the past two years.
“I was so proud of her,” the letter said. “I will miss my little helper.”
He also asked the mourners to be with Bivins and his family.
“He’ll need all of us,” Bowes said, reading the letter.
The Rumbolz and Bivins families were seated together at the service.
Charity Rumbolz’s aunt spoke briefly, and then the audience viewed a slide show of pictures from Rumbolz’s life. The photos showed a girl and then a young woman laughing, making goofy faces and enjoying the company of friends and family.
Small ripples of laughter broke out at certain photos.
Bowes ended the service with a quote from Rose Kennedy: “It has been said, ‘Time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
“Remember the life and the love and the legacy of Charity Rumbolz,” he said.
After the service, mourners released hundreds of balloons outside, standing in silence and watching them carried off on a south wind into a cloud-strewn blue sky.