Remembering Cole Burbank: Family and friends gather for celebration of life

Family and friends pack the main gymnasium at Camas High School to celebrate the life of Cole Burbank April 29 at 1 p.m. after his death on April 21.  The 16-year-old CHS and Clark Running Start student is survived by his parents, Matt and Michelle Burbank, and his girlfriend Ashley Martin.  (Andy Bao/The Independent)

Special Contribution by: Sandra Maszak

“I don’t do drugs… but I do MUSIC, and that serves the same purpose anyways.”

The quote from Cole Burbank, a Camas High School and Clark Running Start student, opened his memorial service on Saturday, where friends and family, clothed in red and black, gathered at 1 p.m in the main gymnasium of Camas High School clothed to celebrate his life.

The 16-year-old went missing April 13 and the search was called off after his car was found in Chehalis, Washington, around 5 p.m. on April 21 with a body inside.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office later confirmed the body as the Camas teen’s.  

In addition to a slideshow, the event’s program encompassed a brief timeline of Burbank’s life. It described his talent in music. He was involved in piano and guitar lessons, as well as three different school choirs throughout his high school years.

The memorial service featured a CHS Choir presentation and another special music performance by Anthony Foster, Burbank’s music teacher.

On the last page of the program, a message was enclosed that said “Cole is survived by his parents, Matt & Michelle Burbank;” It was followed by a list of other significant people who were a part of Burbank’s life.

Paired with this message was the Bible verse Isaiah 61:3 NIV “To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.”

CHS has recommended the following resources for students to employ if they require it:

Clark County Crisis Hotline: 800-626-8137

Clark County Teen Talk: 800-397-2428

On April 24, Clark College President Bob Knight emailed all Clark students and faculty. “We are heartbroken by this news and our deepest sympathies go out to Cole’s family, friends, teachers and classmates,” wrote Knight.

The email also underscored Clark’s continual support to grieving students with free services from the Counseling and Health Center by appointment. The phone number is 360-992-2614.


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