Destrehan native’s death inspires scholarship fund
The sudden passing of David Weber Jr. at the age of 34 came as difficult a blow as one could imagine to the Destrehan High alumnus’ family and friends. But just days after his death on Oct. 2, they vowed to honor his legacy in the best way they knew how.
His sister, Candace Weber Burnett, has established fundraising efforts toward a future college scholarship for her brother’s 11-year-old son, Matthias, who David dreamed would one day have the kind of opportunity he did not.
“We really wanted to do this in honor of his name and for his son, and I can think of no better way to honor him than to take care of Matthias,” said Burnett, the boy’s godmother. “I know it would be a dream come true for David to see his son have the chance to go to college. He never went to college himself, and I think like any parent, you dream for your child to do things you weren’t able to do.”
Burnett has started the effort with a GoFundMe page (titled Matthias’ Scholarship Fund) and that alone has raised almost $2,500 in its first two weeks online. The goal is to raise $5,000 and place it into an account, then add to it each year until Matthias turns 18 and goes on to college, with the funds designated specifically for the purpose of tuition and necessary supplies.
She said the outpouring of support from the community has been an emotional lift in what’s been a difficult time for all who loved Weber.
His death came as result of a brain hemorrhage. He was comatose for two days, before it was determined that there was no path to recovery. He died painlessly, Burnett said, and was surrounded by family.
“I think he died in a way … I think most people would like to be comforted by family, surrounded by love,” she said.
Naturally, it came as a terrible blow.
“My parents are obviously both devastated,” she said. “My younger brothers both really looked up to him, as he was the big brother, the oldest among us. We’re all looking at life differently and taking nothing for granted. I know it brought us closer as a family.
“We’ve all been so comforted at the outpouring of love, support and prayer we’ve received. It shows the heart of this community and how people here come together as one … they’ve lifted our hearts so much.”
Weber was raised in the Norco and Destrehan communities, graduating from Destrehan High in 2005. He was outgoing and charismatic, Burnett said, and loved to make others laugh.
He also loved to help others, especially children. Described as an athlete at heart, Weber coached youth sports regularly, and his dream was to progress on the coaching level and become a youth mentor.
“He wanted to teach them lessons, things he’d learned throughout his life, and keep them focused on the right path,” Burnett said.
She described him as someone of great faith and as an eternal optimist.
“He struggled like anyone else, but he always had a lot of hope and optimism in his life,” Burnett said. “He had so many goals and so many dreams. I want his son to know how special a person he was and how much he loved him.”