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1,000 Mourn 2 Teens Killed in Crash

Funeral: Westlake High boys are remembered as more than good students who spent spare time as an athlete and guitarist.

January 03, 2002|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Nearly 1,000 friends and family members attended a joint funeral Wednesday for two popular Westlake High School students killed in a car crash three days after Christmas.

Jordan Alexander Bass and Kenneth Marshall Glass, both 16, were remembered as good students and good friends, with Bass an aspiring musician and Glass an athlete who dreamed of studying business or engineering.

The close friendships the two youths and their families enjoyed with many of those gathered for the service at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village was much in evidence.

With the youths' caskets behind him, Rev. Craig Beeker said the teens' families hoped "that after this is over today, you will still drop by their houses and eat out of their refrigerators."

Beeker then left the altar and walked among a large contingent of Westlake High students, teachers and coaches as John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" began to play from speakers overhead.

The two students were killed Friday when a car driven by Glass careened out of control and hit a brick wall on Westlake Boulevard near Hillcrest Drive.

Two others in the car, Westlake High students Joshua Kuai and Jenae Chu, both 16, survived the crash. Kuai attended Wednesday's service.

"They were my best friends and I feel really bad about what happened," said Kuai, who was wearing a thickly padded neck brace. "I feel like I got off easy."

Glass was a member of the basketball and volleyball teams at the school and had hopes of studying engineering or business at Columbia University after graduation in 2003.

Bass was a rock guitarist who performed in a garage band called Trase. He was also a golfer with plans to play on the UCLA team.

But the two were much more than good students who passed their spare time as a jock and a guitar player, according to those who knew them best.

During a eulogy that lasted nearly 3 1/2 hours, friends and relatives of the two teens described the little things that were shaping the two boys into young men.

Larry Bass, an uncle of Jordan, said among the many things the good-natured prankster added to the family was a taste for edgy music and practical jokes.

"I can thank him for bringing the sounds of Limp Bizkit and Korn into my house," Bass told the audience with a laugh. "He was a compassionate young man and an amazing golfer."

Another uncle, David Cherin, remembered a 6-year-old Jordan mercilessly beating him at a Nintendo boxing video game and then earnestly telling him, "I will help you get better."

Bass' mother, Cheryl, spoke directly to Kuai, seated in the front row.

"Jenae and Joshua, we know God has a plan for you because you survived this," she said.

Glass was also remembered fondly with touching and humorous stories.

Volleyball coach Greg Gibbons said Glass "was a dream as an athlete. He never talked."

"But he gave 100% of himself and he respected everyone so he got respect."

Known as a shy student with a dry sense of humor, Glass would sometimes fake a sore throat so he would not have to talk when called upon, Gibbons said.

As each person came up to tell a story or lead a prayer, they passed the teens' caskets. Large bunches of flowers, including red roses, were stacked on each.

Next to Glass' casket were two white pillars. On one was placed a basketball and a teddy bear. On the other was a volleyball.

A few feet away, one of Jordan's cherished electric guitars rested on a stand next to a large bouquet of roses shaped like a guitar.

Hung high above the altar were pictures of the two friends.

Several classmates read poems seeking reasons for the two deaths. Beeker, the pastor at Westlake Lutheran Church, cautioned against asking questions "that have no answers."

Members of the Westlake High basketball team, who had voted to postpone a tournament game within hours of their teammate's death, promised to dedicate the rest of the season in the memory of Glass.

His mother Julia remembered a time at the market when she nearly had a "mommy moment" as she dealt with groceries, Kenny and his younger sisters.

"But I had an epiphany," she told the audience. "I started enjoying the moments before I cleaned up the mess."

Craig Glass said his son had the temperament of someone who would never give up. He was gangly and out of sorts on the basketball court at first.

Eventually he found his way, the elder Glass said.

Kenny told his dad he wanted to join Jordy's band, Trase, as the lead singer.

But after he found his voice wasn't up to it, he became the band manager, his dad said.

"He wanted to be the leader, to control a company one day," Craig Glass said.

"But bad luck and bad judgment got in the way."

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