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In tragedy’s wake

By Staff | Nov 22, 2008

Ryan Erick North lost his life in a motorcycle crash earlier this month, but his spirit survives in those who knew, loved and remember him.

Ryan, 24, had many friends, as is evident by the plethora of comments on his Myspace profile from before and following his death Nov. 6.

But the line between family and friends is blurred in the home of his mother, Brooke North-Rivet; his sisters, 18-year-old Vivienne and 13-year-old Brigette; and stepfather Scott Rivet.

“He was my best friend,” Brooke said. “I wasn’t just a mother. His family and his friends were it.”

“I knew Ryan since he was 2,” Scott said. “He was just like his grandfather; he was a jokester. He was just a regular guy, he didn’t mean any harm.”

Ryan graduated from Mariner High School and went into work with his father, Jeffrey North, at Sensible Air Conditioning.

He was well known in Cape Coral.

But perhaps some of his closest friends walked on all fours, barked, slithered, swam and purred.

“At one time he thought he was going to be a veterinarian,” Brooke said. “He loved animals.”

During his life Ryan cared for raccoons, snakes, tadpoles, cats, turtles, iguanas, butterflies, birds and dogs, including the dog named Kita who his family now cares for.

Some of the tadpoles Ryan collected were still swimming in a pot of water outside his family’s home.

“Ryan liked to see them crawl out and hop away,” Brooke said. “He was always bringing home something.”

Ryan also loved fast cars, boats and motorcycles. In high school, his first car was a ’67 GTO inherited from his father. He had a horse and loved to ride on inline skates.

“Ryan had a need for speed since he was a little boy,” Brooke said.

Ryan was driving his motorcycle in south Cape Coral when he collided with the driver’s side of a Chrysler minivan, according to police.

He was on his way to Diamond’s Billiards when it happened. Ryan’s family saw the news report on television, and Brooke knew it was Ryan who had died even before police officers came to the home to tell her.

“People keep saying, ‘how can you be so strong?’ I’m blessed because I’ve had my husband and my daughters. I’m concerned about his father; it was his only child.”

Ryan’s family kept his room the same, but throughout the house are pictures of him: snippets of who he was.

Though Ryan’s future now lays in the collected memory of his loved ones, he was ambitious in his pursuit of life.

“All he talked about was finding a nice woman and raising a family,” Brooke said. “He was looking forward to change and he was growing and maturing slowly.”

Ryan wanted to move to the Carolinas or to Tennessee.

“He never got a chance to get up to his dad’s new cabin in Tennessee,” Scott said.

In honor of Ryan’s love for animals, his family will make a donation to Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife, or CROW.

Ryan’s family urges those who wish to do so to make donations to CROW in his memory of his love for animals as well.