Leo Lydon is remembered by those who knew him as a funny, witty and positive guy who above all else, loved life.

Lydon, a freshman communications major, died Jan. 7 due to natural causes. Leo was born in Albany, New York, on July 12, 1983 and was one of five children. The family also lived in Coatesville, PA, before moving to Riverside, where they have lived for the last ten years.

The middle child of his family, Lydon was known for his practical jokes and his ability to make people laugh, at school, onstage and at home.

“He was just hilarious,” Mary Putnam-Lydon, Leo’s mother, said. “Whenever I was talking to the kids, he would stand behind my back making faces, doing a chicken dance – that kind of thing.”

Leo was very close to his family, often choosing to stay at home instead of going out with his friends. One common interest Leo shared with the rest of his family was soccer. He played all four years on his high school team, his mother is a referee and his two older siblings both received soccer scholarships.

While his older siblings decided to stay close to home for college, his mother said Leo’s big ambition was to go away to school, and he was very happy with his choice of UCSB.

“He couldn’t wait to get out there, and he thought that Santa Barbara was just the most beautiful place on Earth,” Putnam-Lydon said. “He loved it there. I can’t say enough about how much he loved life.”

Lydon, who graduated with honors from La Sierra High School in Riverside, was involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, including cross-country, pole-vaulting on the school’s track and field team, and varsity tennis.

In addition, he was an announcer at school basketball games, wrote articles for the school newspaper and was an active member of the drama club, with lead roles in several productions. Lydon was also the Vice-President of La Sierra’s ASB.

“The drama was a bit of a surprise to us,” Putnam-Lydon said. “We were a hard crowd, and he took a lot of kidding from us about it. He didn’t seem at all the kind of guy who would do that kind of thing. He was too masculine.

“The kid had talent,” she said.

Lydon, who wanted to be a television sportscaster, was involved in intramural volleyball, indoor soccer and basketball at UCSB.

Va’Shajn Parr, Lydon’s R.A., said Leo was well liked by the other students living in his dorm.

“He was a great resident with a lot of energy – just a positive person overall,” Parr said.

“I never realized he would turn into a thing of such beauty,” Billy Lydon, Leo’s brother, said. “Eventually he did, and what a sight he was. Until then, I had never known anyone with as much self-confidence as him. I admired his daring to be a leader, his ability to light up a room just by him being there, and most of all, I admired his ability to be a carefree spirit.”

The funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 14 at St. Thomas Church, 3374 Jackson St. in Riverside.