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Family mourns death of 11-year-old

By Melissa Crowe
March 7, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated March 7, 2012 at 9:08 p.m.

Dylan Gray, 11, of Shiner, died Sunday morning after being struck by an SUV while attempting to cross Zac Lentz Parkway near North Navarro Street.

Dylan Gray, who died Sunday at age 11, was the light of his mother's life.

The boy had her features: light hair, full lips and a pensive look in his green eyes always reflecting that he was solving a problem or planning his next move.

Dylan was struck by an SUV early Sunday morning while attempting to cross Zac Lentz Parkway near North Navarro Street. He died in a San Antonio hospital later that morning.

He was buried Wednesday in Shiner.

Dylan's aunts, Priscilla Hedlin, of Austin, and Cindy Hartman-Weaver, of New Braunfels, said the death has devastated the family.

Hedlin said Dylan's mother, Susan Hartman, was replaying the accident over in her mind Tuesday.

"She told me that not minutes before it happened, Dylan was laughing saying, 'Mommy, I'm having so much fun,'" Hedlin said. "She let him stay up late, have a late dinner, he was enjoying himself with his mom and brothers."

The family was staying a few nights at the Super 8 motel as they waited to move into a new home in Shiner. The boy had attended several schools in the area, but was being home-schooled.

While Dylan had a serious personality, he was known for living each day full of energy. His favorite color was gold, he loved dogs, Hershey's Kisses, skateboarding and listening to Pearl Jam.

He was an avid Jehovah's Witness.

"We try to follow the Bible, the promises of the Resurrection and a better life than on Earth," Hartman-Weaver said. "We pull our strength and our hope for the future on it."

She said the family was finding comfort in a verse from Revelations 21:4: "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed."

The two sisters said Dylan's mother was leaning on her mother, Ethel Foeh, of Shiner, for emotional support. The family lost a sister in 1986 suddenly.

In the emergency room Sunday morning, Dylan's mother said she needed her mother, Hartman-Weaver said.

"She said 'Momma has done this, has buried a child, has known,'" Hartman-Weaver said. "My sister takes comfort from that. My mother's done it and survived it. Susan draws strength from being with my mom who knows exactly how she feels."

Hartman-Weaver said tragedy can happen at any time.

"As parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, you cannot take a day for granted," she said.

Hedlin said the sudden death has showed the family the importance of slowing down and focusing on their loved ones.

"Let your kids do something out of the ordinary tonight," she said. "Let them eat dinner on the white carpet, let them stay up late, let them do it because they can. My sister's baby can't do that tonight ... Let your kids be kids, take today for today."

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