Cody John Ellison, a La Salle native, will be remembered mostly by his smile, work ethic and faith.
"He was almost always jolly and upbeat - always smiling," said Lester Ellison, Cody Ellison's father.
A weekend celebration ended unexpectedly for Cody Ellison when he was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident on a private ranch in Brackettville, about 30 miles east of Del Rio, a spokesman for the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office. He was pronounced dead at the scene with blunt cerebral injuries by Kinney County Justice of the Peace Narce Villarreal.
The 25-year-old had plans to marry on Nov. 14 and was on track to graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in sports management, his father said.
"He was working his way through college," said Kelsi Lauger, Cody Ellison's fiancé. The two dated for five years and were engaged for a little more than a year.
Lauger remembered Cody Ellison's Christian faith as a crucial part of their relationship.
"He prayed the rosary every night with me," she said. "Well, not every night, but before finals. He wanted to live his life in a way that would inspire other people to draw closer to God."
Along with Cody Ellison's love for sports and outdoors, his family also remembers his work ethic. Cody Ellison lived in a travel trailer in Houston to save money and worked a full-time job to finance his degree.
"He was very independent, a very hard-worker," his father said. "He was not a bit afraid of work."
The family has organized the Cody Ellison Memorial Scholarship Fund at First Victoria National Bank and hope to make the funds available for students pursuing a sports management or kinesiology degree. They are asking for anyone wishing to help, to make a donation.
"He loved life, he loved God, he loved his fiancé and he loved his family," his father said. "He was not too big of a man to admit it."