SAN RAMON - Hundreds of community members packed a San Ramon church on Tuesday to remember 17-year-old Robert Orlando, who died in a car crash in Danville the night before he was set to begin his senior year of high school.
The funeral mass at St. Joan of Arc Parish came just over a week after the crash, which also injured two of Robert's friends.
The three boys, all 17-year-old Danville residents, were in a car heading north on El Capitan Drive near Claridge Drive around 8:50 p.m. on Aug. 26 when the car left the roadway and crashed into a tree, police said.
Robert was taken to San Ramon Regional Medical Center where he died. The driver of the car was hospitalized with broken ribs and the other passenger suffered a broken leg, according to police.
Police continue to investigate what caused the crash.
Family friend Richard Hein said the boys were heading home from a fishing trip at the time of the crash.
He said the three friends had wanted to go on one last fishing trip before the start of their senior year at San Ramon Valley High School the next day, Hein said.
Fishing was just one of the many things Robert enjoyed and was good at, according to his older brother Christopher Orlando, who spoke to the packed church on Tuesday.
Robert, known affectionately as "Porkchop," was determined to excel at whatever goal put his mind to, his brother said, from earning top grades at school to his six-month stint as a vegetarian, his brother said.
"I'm never going to go fishing or camping with him again, or laugh with him or argue with him, or tease him about his cooking," he said.
"Even though that car crash took my brother's life from this world, it can never take my memories of him," Orlando said.
Those in attendance at Tuesday's memorial service dabbed at tears as they listened to the eulogy.
Many of the teens who attended wore green and white, San Ramon Valley High's colors. Robert's golf teammates wore their uniforms.
Robert is survived by his parents and two brothers.
His family has arranged for donations to be made in his honor to Fairfield-based nonprofit Kids Day of Fishing, which organizes outdoor activities and fishing events for special-needs and underprivileged children.
Michael Johns, the group's founder, said several donations have come in this week in Robert's name, and that a fishing derby will be held in his honor next spring.
Donations can be made online at http://www.kidsdayoffishing.org.
The family has also asked that messages, photos or videos of Robert be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.