Eli LaFon-Horstmann would have been 33 Feb. 5, but the Stillwater native’s life was cut short after the sudden onset of meningitis.
Although Eli died Dec. 11, hundreds of community members gathered at the Grand Banquet Hall in Stillwater Feb. 1 to celebrate his life. Those who knew him said that he was constantly smiling and made friends easily.
“There wasn’t a negative bone in his body,” said longtime friend Ann Arney, of Bayport, who graduated with him from Stillwater Area High School in 1999.
Jesse Daniels, who knew Eli more than 20 years, said it was moving to see how many lives Eli touched when everyone came together to “share their stories and just revisit memories.”
Eli’s brother Yasha agreed.
“I think he would’ve said that’s exactly what he wanted,” Yasha said.
Those who knew Eli said the St. Croix River was his “sanctuary,” and he loved his dog Molly.
Local artist and friend of Eli, Sarah Schroeder, designed T-shirts of Eli and his dog in a “sailing canoe” he made. Proceeds from shirt sales will go to the family, who will give them to the St. Croix River Valley Association in Eli’s name. To order a shirt for $20, contact Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org.