Samuel "Audi" Nava III was born August 13, 1992 in Castro Valley, CA. When he passed away on May 3, 2010, Sam was a month away from graduation at Hayward High School.
Sam lived his life with an open heart and courageous spirit. As his grandfather Sam always says: “When God made Audi, he broke the mold.” He loved being outdoors in the sunshine -camping at Lake Camanche, playing baseball for the Hayward Farmers varsity team, shooting baskets with his dad, or just messing around with his little brother Tyler.
It has been immensely touching for our family to see how Sam’s life has impacted others. All the shy kids who said that Audi reached out a welcoming hand to them, all the girls who he looked out for, and all the guys who’ve told us that they never had a teammate with a better attitude. Just seventeen years old, but his impact will be felt forever by the many people he touched.
Audi holds a special place in our family. He was a star, an entertainer, and the one person who brought everyone together. His family meant just as much to him--unlike many teenagers, he never missed a family gathering and a chance to be around those he loved. Sam always had time for his younger cousins, who looked up to him like no one else. Those family gatherings won’t be the same without him. It meant a lot to Sammy that he was the great-great-grandson of Pancho Villa and he carried on his rebellious spirit, always defending those in need and standing up for what is right. He was proud to be a Nava, and we are all so much prouder to be Navas because of Audi.
In the past week, as his family and friends have remembered Audi, one thing has stood out the most: No one could light up a room like Audi. Wherever he went, Sammy lifted the spirits of those around him with his charisma -flashing that million-watt smile and bouncing around the room with his limitless energy. His life was all too short, but he gave us all so many gifts in his time –and those smiles were the greatest gifts of all.
We’ll miss you, Audi. More than we can ever say. You just burned too bright for this world. We want you to know that we’ll keep you with us always. You will never be far from our hearts, and any time we gather, you will be with us. We love you, Audi –and we’ll think of you always, until that sunny day when our paths come together again.
~ The Nava Family
Sammy is gone. Sammy is no more. How can this be. I just saw him chasing his cousins, hunting Easter eggs. “I found one,” a scream of delight! The other kids run toward him, “Where, where?” Then into the front yard, more running, more screaming, more fun. No more Sammy. From St. Clements to Moreau, to Tennyson, to Hayward High, wherever he went, he made friends, just a kid in a big juvenile body loving life, loving people, loving sports. He loved the competition, the challenge of trying to make the team. If he didn’t make it, he accepted it and moved into the next sport. No more Sammy.
“Hi Grandpa,” with a shoulder bump and a high five hand clasp this was his greeting . I’ll miss that. I’d ask, “Are you hungry?” He’d answer, “Where’s my mom!” As I write this, I’m sitting on the bar stool where he sat eating a big bowl of cereal. Man, did he love cereal. I’d say to him, “You have to eat some real food, get some carbs, protein, put some meat on your bones.” His response: “I’m good, grandpa.”
Sammy is gone. I love to play golf. I always wanted to get him into golf as he had such great athletic ability like his dad, and a great attitude toward sports in general. But there were never enough hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a year. I didn’t get to spend enough time with him. His dad actually bought him a junior set -I was there that day, that was a good day. Lauren now uses that set. Man, does she have a swing, just like Sammy. Sammy is gone.
Yesterday after I had cut the grass in the front yard I went into the backyard to clean the pool. As I was walking around the pool scrubbing and vacuuming, I reminisced. I could see Sammy, in his baggy pants, cannonball into the pool. Screams of laughter and joy –Brooke, Eve, Lauren, Malcom, Marlin, Mikalea, Nickel. What a great sight. “Marco”. “Polo”. More screams, more fun. The sounds of summer, the sounds of youth. Sammy is gone, Sammy is no more.
There is not too much I can say that hasn’t been said before. What a tragedy. What a waste of life. It’s so ridiculous, I can’t believe it. It’s devastating. When I think of all the young men who have died in conflicts and wars around the world, I grieve for them and their families. Now it hits home in this senseless act of violence that took our Sammy from us. “Vengeance is mine”, sayeththe Lord. “God works in mysterious ways.” He is in a better place now. I do believe in God, there has to be a God. Fate, destiny–this is how it was supposed to be. We have to believe that Sammy’s path crossed that of his murderer for a reason. We don’t know what that reason is, all we do know is that we all suffer, grieve, and cry. If there is a greater meaning to this tragedy maybe we will become aware of it at a later date, but right know it doesn’t make sense. In the words of Marcus Aurelius: “We have to learn to endure hardship.”God Bless, Sammy.
A Remembrance From Brian, Charlotte, Brian Jr., Sava, Marguerite and Maria–The Eastwoods