The family of a Collins teen will forever remember the morning after Christmas as the morning their son didn't make it home.
A star athlete and determined scholar, James W. "J.J." Boyce Jr.,19, spent Christmas Daycelebrating with his family.
That evening, he drove to a friend's house with plans to spend the night, his mother said.
But just before 4 a.m. Friday, he drove his car off the right side of the road into a ditch, striking a utility pole before overturning in a field, according to a report from the Norwalk Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
His mother, Elizabeth Peggs,said no one seemed to know why he was out so late driving or where he was going.
But she said she found some comfort in the fact that her son's death could give life to someone else.
Peggs said her son, an organ donor, was known for his generosity throughout his short life.
"He was a great kid," she said through tears Friday night."Everybody loved him."
Peggs said her son had so many friends that she had a hard time limiting the pallbearers for his funeral to eight people.
Friends and family remembered him as a hard worker, but also as a cheerful comedian.
He held his first job at age 11, working in a greenhouse. Since then, he worked every summer for local farms and at the Norwalk Raceway Park.
"When he went off to college, (one of the farmers) said he was really going to be missed," Peggs said.
"They said it would take 10 people to replace him," Peggs said.
His work ethic carried over onto the athletic field and into the classroom.
Boyce, who graduated from Western Reserve High School this spring, earned varsity letters for four years in three sports and was captain of his football and wrestling teams.
Rob Jennings, Boyce's wrestling coach and social studies teacher, described him as a role model for his peers.
"I think he was able to have an influence on anyone he came across," Jennings said. "He was always positive; he had the work ethic and the attitude ... he was just his own man at all times."
Boyce had more than 100 career wins during his four years of wrestling. He competed at the state wrestling meet last year and posted a 1-2 record in Columbus, Jennings said.
As a student, Boyce worked through his weaknesses and never settled for being average, Jennings said. He had a record of perfect attendance and graduated with a strong GPA -- gaining him admittance the to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.
He studied civil engineering and played football there this past season. He also participated in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and was active in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
In his spare time, Peggs said her son often did community service such as canned food collections and blood drives.
Boyce, who was home for winter break and staying with his parents at 2657 S. Railroad St., Collins, was driving his 1995 Grand Am south on De Russey Road in Townsend Township when he apparently lost control of the vehicle.
He was wearing his seat belt. Troopers say they suspect alcohol was a factor.
Boyce, an only child, is survived by Elizabeth and Michael Peggs; his grandfather, Robert Kaiser; several aunts and uncles and six cousins. Funeral arrangements are pending with the Morman Funeral Home in Wakeman.