Kenny Hummel: Making heaven shine with his big smile
The following story was published in the Monday, Oct. 29 edition of the Washington State University student publication, The Daily Evergreen, and is appearing here with special permission.
By Kaitlin Gillespie
Talk to Kenny Hummel’s family and friends and they’d say he had a great laugh. A warm, loving personality. An infectious smile.
“I just want people to know that he was a good, nice kid who was going to be a terrific young man, and this is tragically a life cut short,” said Bill, Kenny’s father. “Remember Kenny as the smiling, happy Kenny.”
The 18-year-old freshman from Lynnwood died early Saturday morning after he was found unconscious in a dorm room in Stephenson South. The cause of death has not been released.
Kenny started studying at WSU this year after graduating from Meadowdale High School.
During high school, Kenny followed in his family’s footsteps as an active student and member of the Lynnwood community.
“Our lives have been about helping others and I think that rubbed off on him,” said Bill, who teaches math at the high school. Bill’s wife, Lisa, is a midwife.
The Lynnwood community has shown an outpour of support, bringing flowers to the family.
His family said Kenny was a passionate athlete, lettering three times in golf, his sport of choice.
“He had a big smile on his face the day he finally beat his dad at golf,” Bill said.
Kenny spent two months studying in Germany in high school, where he discovered a passion and love for the country. That love led him to study computer engineering in hopes of becoming an aerospace engineer in the country his family said he couldn’t wait to go back to.
“He’d always talk to me in German and I’d have to figure out what the hell he was saying,” Kenny’s mother Lisa said. “I will miss that from him because he had a very good sense of humor.”
Rebekkah Phillips, a WSU freshman and longtime friend of Kenny’s, also went on that trip. She said he was the “best to sleep on” during long trips, that he always gave the best hugs and that his distinct laugh was contagious.
“I know that he’s up there making heaven shine with his big smile,” Phillips said.
Kenny’s brother Lucas and his sister Cassie, currently students at Meadowdale, also remember their brother for his big smile and laugh. He was always happy, Cassie said. She said he never had friends who had a negative influence on his life.
“Anybody who had the privilege of knowing him, they were so lucky,” Cassie said. “They really got to feel how happy of a life that he lived and I just think that he’s a really great guy.”
His brother, Lucas, said Kenny should be remembered for his kindness.
“He was the best brother anyone could imagine,” Lucas said. “I want him to be remembered as a caring and loving person that will never be forgotten by anyone.”
Kenny is survived by his mother Lisa, his father Bill, his brother Lucas and his sister Cassie. His funeral is scheduled for Nov. 7 at Holy Rosary Parish in Edmonds. Donations can be made to Whidbey Island Bank for the Kenny Hummel Memorial Scholarship.