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RJ Zwaan was more than gifted, funny, and talented.  Those words don’t even begin to describe him.   Growing up he was all boy.  He played baseball and football.  He learned to play the drums when he was 8 and taught himself to play the guitar and piano.  From the time RJ was little he wanted to be a Marine, and when he was a teenager he was a member of the Young Marines.  In the summers, he went to Quantico and Paris Island for drills.  When RJ reached high school he began smoking pot and drinking.  After less than 4 months of attempts to get treatment for alcohol, on June 30, 2008, as I was walking down the stairs that morning to get ready for work I saw him laying on the living room floor.  He was already gone from an accidental prescription drug overdose -an adverse reaction to a prescription drug combined with alcohol.  At the time, we had no idea he or other teens were experimenting with prescription pills.  RJ was 17 years old and always will be.  Sadly he never started his senior year of high school, graduated, or go on to college or stand in as best man at his friend Theo's wedding.  His sister and I attended in his absence, he should have been there.  Those are the things that we have to do today and every day.  We live for RJ. 

I think we all have enough good memories to write a fairly lengthy book. I have a memory of when he came down to visit me in NC.  I was holding up a sign advertising a new movie theater. RJ stood out there for about two hours with me holding a "Honk if I'm Sexy" sign. The best part was that a police car honked when I held it. Better yet, when RJ went back to holding it, another squad car went by right before we went to eat. When we got back, another friend mentioned that the police were looking for him  ~Theo Waltz (best friend)


My mother was doing her spring mulching she had a giant pile of it in the driveway. It hadn't even been lunch time when RJ arrived unannounced and jumped out of the bed of a truck he hitched a ride on and said, "I thought I smelled landscaping!" He promptly grabbed a shovel. He was that guy.  ~John Lister

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