Remembering Justyn

A friendly teenager with an infectious smile who got along with everyone. That’s how people remember Justyn Hall, 14, of Buffalo, who died from injuries sustained in a cliff-diving accident at Tie Hack Reservoir on Aug. 3.

“I always tried to get his sly smile,” said Derek Andrews, Justyn’s seventh-grade basketball coach and mentor through the Johnson County mentoring program. “Sometimes he could be reserved, but he was always thinking of things. For me to get his Justyn smile – I always tried to get that.”

Justyn was preparing to enter his freshman year at Buffalo High School. At Clear Creek Middle School, he ran cross-country and played basketball and soccer.

Through cross-country, Justyn met coach and teacher Mike Scarlett. Scarlett said Justyn had a quick wit and was known for his humor.

“Justyn had a spark of orneriness to him that came across in the jokes he would play,” Scarlett said, recalling that the two had a running contest to see who could come up with the worst “dad jokes.”

“He was a sincerely good person – thoughtful and kind to everyone. Justyn just had a great big heart, and I will miss him.”

There are two memories that Justyn’s youth pastor, Stephen Martin, said he’ll carry with him.

“Justyn and I, we would play basketball together before youth group or after youth group just under the lights by the garage,” he said. “The other is we went out to breakfast, just sitting across the table from each other, talking about life, talking about faith. Talking about his life. Those are the two memories that will stick with me for long time.”

Classmate Zander Hulet said the two got to know each other through their participation in basketball and soccer, but it was their antics that brought them closer.

“We liked to joke around and have fun,” Hulet said. “We were kind of known for that in Mrs. Odenbach’s class. I’m going to miss him – he was so funny. If someone was in a bad mood, he’d come and say something until they were in a better mood.”

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 8 at Summit Church. A fund has been set up at Bank of Buffalo to assist the family.

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