Nineteen-year-old loved skateboards, dirt bikes, ATVs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.comROCKWELL ó Sawyer Kepley was a big kid who loved the outdoors, his family, and Hutch, his huge Great Dane.
The 19-year-old died Thursday night when his Honda Rancher ATV wrecked on a subdivision road off Holshouser Road near Shive Elementary School.
Chuck Kepley, Sawyer’s uncle, said Saturday the family is coping with his death, receiving support from the community, friends and their church, Grace Bible Missionary.
Nathan Sawyer Kepley was the son of Aaron Dean and Cindy Miller Kepley. He graduated from East Rowan High School in 2008 and was working for Marketing Services Unlimited.
In his 19 years, Sawyer spent as much time outside as possible. And he liked riding ó skateboards, dirt bikes and ATVs.
“I rode a lot when I was young,” said Chuck. “He could ride good … they’ll still bite you … kill you real quick.”
Sawyer was about two miles from home when the mishap occurred. He had dropped off a friend and was on a lightly traveled paved road.
Exactly what happened is uncertain. His uncle said Sawyer apparently died instantly, but his body wasn’t found for about 20 minutes after the accident.
In the past couple of years, Sawyer had taken up bow hunting, joining his uncle and friends.
He killed his first deer this past season and had recently bought a new bow. “He could really shoot good with a bow. He never hunted with a rifle,” he said.
Chuck recalled his enthusiasm for bow hunting, remembering Sawyer saying, “Man, I wish I had started years ago.”
The thing he will always remember about Sawyer was his smile.
“That boy, he smiled all the time. … That crazy little fellow loved to smile,” Chuck said, adding he was really a big fellow. “He enjoyed his 19 years. He was a good boy.”
And Hutch, a brindle Great Dane, was a very big part of Sawyer’s life.
“He loved that dog. He took him a lot of places, rode him around in his old pickup truck. He (Hutch) weighed 160 pounds, he filled up the back of the truck. He looked like tiger,” he said.
Now, Sawyer’s family and friends are struggling with the loss. “Everybody’s heart is broken,” said Chuck.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Grace Bible Church. Burial will follow in Ursinus United Church of Christ Cemetery.
Powles Funeral Home of Rockwell is serving the family.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.