Zach Tyler Raffety was born in Newport Beach, California on December 15, 1991. He was brought home from the hospital to the home he would continue to live in through his teen years. Zach was a happy, well behaved little kid and grew up directly across the street from playmates that would become some of his best friends forever. He went to St. John's Episcopal School from K-8th grade making loads of friends and charming the teachers with that awesome smile of his.
Zach has been crazy about sports since he was old enough to throw the ball with his Dad. He played Little League Baseball and Pop Warner Football with his Dad at his side coaching both teams. Zach's team, the Titans, were the first division in Orange County to win the Orange Bowl and go on to the Pop Warner National Championship in Florida. Zach became quite a traveler in his younger years; he also had adventures in Maine and Hawaii where with his Dad they went to the Pro Bowl. He spent two weeks every summer with his MaMa and PaPa (since the age of two his names for his grandparents).
They always had something fun planned everyday for his visit and the first thing Zach would say when he woke was, "What are we going to do today"? One of his favorite things was bowling and taking turns making up stories, Zach had a wild imagination! Zach learned to play cards from his great grandparents who also taught his Dad when he was young and like father like son, Zach would always win. From the time he was three at the end of each day Zach would drag the chair to the counter and Zach and PaPa would make a chocolate shake before bed. This ritual is something he still loved and continued to do as he got older.
Before Zach was out of elementary school his Dad remarried. His Step-Mom was from a large family and Zach's wish had come true, he had the big family he always wanted. With a new set of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins there was always a huge family gathering on holidays, birthdays or just for fun! By the time Zach was graduating from 8th grade another one of his wishes had come true, a baby brother born June 12, 2006. We remember how Zach couldn't get over how tiny a newborn can be. He thought it was so cool his parents had chosen his middle name Tyler for his little brother's name. For 8th grade graduation Zach's class went to Washington DC to celebrate entering a new chapter in life, high school.
Zach attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School with childhood friends while making many new friends with his winning personality. Zach's love of sports directed him to participate in football his freshman year, wrestling as a sophomore and lacrosse in his sophomore and junior year. Math has always come easy to Zach so he really enjoyed his chemistry class. Another class that caught his interest was film making, he had also expressed interest in becoming an actor.
During his sophomore year he got his first job at Jerry's Dogs. Zach was extremely outgoing and made friends easily. Him and his buddies started a tradition after school and called it "Chipolte Wednesday". During high school Zach loved going on trips with his family and friends. Every summer his Dad would rent a beach house in Del Mar and family and friends would enjoy being by the ocean.
During Christmas vacation Dad, Mom, little brother and Zach would make a trip to Austin, Texas to spend time with his grandparents and the rest of the family. He loved these big family gatherings, the more people the better. While there, Zach got to tour the University of Texas. Snow boarding became one of his favorite pass times. In the winter months you could find Zach and his friends trying to find a way to get to Mountain High or Mammoth. In the summer it was just hanging out, Chipolte Wednesday, or swimming in the pool with friends.
Zach was an exceptional individual. He loved people and never met anyone without making a connection. He loved to joke around but was always able to laugh at himself. Zach had a big heart and never judged others; he always wanted to please and was hard on himself if he thought you weren't happy with him. On April 7, 2009 we lost our precious Zach while he was riding as a passenger in another teen's car. This fatal accident was caused by speed and teen inexperience. Zach's Memorial Service was held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California where over twelve hundred of his family and friends came to celebrate this loving teen's life.
We received hundred's of letters from his friends and from classmates that didn't even know him personally. Each letter confirmed what we already knew about him, what a great kid he was. Some of the enduring things said were: you were so positive, never angry; such a fun loving guy; you had an infectious smile; your face would brighten anyone's day; everyone loved to be around you; nice to everyone, you had a kind heart; you have made a great impact on all of us.
The most important person in Zach's life was his Dad. They had something so unique that it's hard to put into words. From the time Zach was a little kid and through his teenage years their bond grew stronger. Zach and his Dad had a special phrase they shared with each other every night before bed; "Good night Dad, you are the best Dad in the whole wide world, good night, I love you". "Good night Zach, you are the best son in the whole wide world, good night, I love you". Zach will never be forgotten and our memories of him will forever be etched in our hearts.