Noah Kreml, a 16-year-old from Peebles drowned at William Harsha Lake in Clermont County Thursday, July 30.
Noah’s body was recovered by a diver in the early morning hours of July 31.
Reports from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Noah was being pulled by a boat on an inner-tube when the driver noticed Noah was not on the inner-tube anymore. By the time the boat was able to get back to the area, a life jacket was found, with Noah nowhere to be seen.
A visitation was held on Tuesday evening with the funeral held on Wednesday. Members of his baseball team from Peebles were the pallbearers for the service.
Many people described Noah as a “gentle giant” that loved to make others laugh.
“He kind of marched to his own drum but the thing with Noah was that whatever the situation, he was always thinking of others,” Noah’s Baseball Coach Kevin Behr said. “He would always mesh well with teammates and would always step up in any situation to help anyone else out.”
A fellow Peebles baseball player, Stephen Penn, described Noah as a very friendly young man.
“He was never rude or mean to anyone,” Penn said. “He would walk up to you and start a friendly conversation with you. I played baseball against him this year and I was pitching and I hit him with a pitch. He walked over to first base and said ‘I’m sorry I didn’t get out of the way.”
Penn said Noah was always looking to make others laugh.
“He would always dress up,” Penn said. “Like he wore a tuxedo to school and we asked him ‘Why are you wearing a tuxedo?’ and he said ‘because it’s OGT week.”
Behr was also witness to Noah’s goofy personality at times.
“He would do things to make people laugh,” Behr said. “Noah could change his voice and he would mimic things. At our last game we’re all sitting around a picnic table and he was mimicking music and one of the kids told him ‘Noah, we’re at a ballpark, change the channel.’ and he changed it up immediately to him calling a ballgame just like it was Marty and Joe. That’s the kind of things he would do.”
Jim Walls, an assistant principal for Noah for years in the Peebles school system said the news hurt him because of the connection the teachers make with their students over spending years with them.
“They’re like your own children in a way when you see them from kindergarten to high school,” Walls said. When you’ve had a group of kids all the way through they become like your children. When good things happen you feel great and when bad things happen you feel awful. I’m sad [Noah] didn’t have a chance to live life like I have had.”
Behr said losing Noah means his team lost a player who the entire team looked up to.
“The fact is that he was the foundation for our team,” Behr said. “He was really our rock that we built off of. A lot of the kids would draw inspiration from him. He was always positive. He taught us so much on just living and how to treat others and we were blessed to have him with us.”
Members of Behr’s team signed a baseball to leave in Noah’s casket as a memento at the service.
Walls just hopes the community is able to find strength in a difficult moment like this.
“I want to make sure the community pray for the family and the community of students who were friends with him,” Walls said. “This is a reminder of how fragile life is and how quickly it can change.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391, email@example.com or @WUDefender on Twitter.