Students and community members gathered at the oceanside park adjoining Del Playa Drive and Camino Pescadero last night to celebrate the life of UCSB student Lucas Ransom, who tragically died in a shark attack last week.
Lit by flickering candles and brightly colored glowsticks, the honorary vigil began at 8 p.m., bringing friends and family together to mourn their loss and share cherished memories. Lucas, a third-year chemical engineering major, died from injuries sustained in a shark attack last Friday morning while boogie boarding at Surf Beach by the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
[media-credit name=”Tony Ung” align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]The night began with a quiet, reflective acoustic guitar performance followed by a vocal performance. Ransom’s housemates were then invited up to the stage to read letters they had written to Lucas after his death.
Third-year engineering major Tyler Wagoner, one of Ransom’s housemates, said Ransom’s energy and optimism set him apart.
“Love just poured out of you in your smile and the interactions you made with everyone,” Wagoner said. “I like to think that as you sat there in the surf, you had it all figured out, that you had accomplished life and taken every chance you had to feel alive. Let me know what it’s like on the other side. I love you.”
Third-year Cole Symanski, also Ransom’s housemate, smiled widely as he shared memories of coming to love Ransom’s endearing habits.
“Luke was one of the most loved people around,” Symanski said. “He taught us all to smile more, to be appreciative of the small things, the small traits in people. He had lots of little quirks about him; he’d hoard food and he’d hide these things in strange, strange places. We’d find cereal in the folds of his sheets.”
Many speakers touched on Ransom’s kind nature and understanding personality. According to third-year global studies major Hannah Meade, Ransom accepted people without judgment and was a friend to all.
“It was like he didn’t know how to hate someone, how to make someone feel badly — he couldn’t do it, he didn’t know how to,” Meade said.
Many friends looked back on fond memories of Ransom, laughing to themselves about the crazy adventures that their friend’s spontaneity had brought about.
Third-year Adam Schneider, one of Ransom’s housemates, said it wasn’t important that he and Ransom do anything in particular; being with him was inevitably a good time.
“I don’t know how you did that,” Schneider read from his letter to Luke. “Moments with you were the best moments on earth.”
Ransom’s older brother Travis said he found solace in the fact that Luke passed away doing what made him happiest.
“When we went out to the ocean, we’d leave at three in the morning and tell my mom we’d be back for school — and we’d make it back by about lunchtime,” Ransom said. “When we were out there, it was the happiest I’d ever seen him [Luke]. I’d paddle out and he’d be on a wave, and he’d always be smiling. It’s so peaceful for me to know that was one of the most special things to him in the world.”