Family and friends remember late Academy grad

Posted at: 07/07/2013 9:41 PM
Updated at: 07/07/2013 11:26 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque Academy graduate who drowned in Chicago was remembered Sunday afternoon.

Austin Hudson-LaPore would have turned 21-years-old on Monday.

Though heartbroken, his family is back home in Albuquerque after searching for their son in Chicago.

They celebrated a life well lived.

"He gave us more than we could ever have expected any child to give," said Leigh LaPore Harris, Austin's aunt.

Austin's family and friends looked back at an extraordinary life.

Almost 200 people filled the Simms Center for the Performing Arts at Albuquerque Academy where Austin graduated in 2010.

While at the private school, Austin competed in national science bowls.

He was also fascinated by the weather at a young age.

"At 2 [years-old] he would watch the Weather Channel obsessively and if a particularly interesting weather front was coming through, he would run through the house shouting something to the effect of, 'There are extreme weather warnings in 10 states,'" said Austin's cousin, Sarah Herrmann.

In June, while away at college in Chicago, Austin's family believes the 20-year-old walked out to Lake Michigan to see an incoming storm.

"When he was in Chicago I think he really missed his mountains," Harris said. "He missed walking and I think the Lakefront offered him about the only solace and that's why he was drawn to it."

However, Austin somehow ended up in the lake, possibly swept in by a current.

His body was recovered a week later. The coroner said Austin accidentally drowned.

His parents released this statement on Sunday:

"It gives us comfort that he left us doing the things that he loved: Pursuing his science studies, being part of university life and spending time in his beloved lakefront and looking up to the sky with a feeling of wonder of the power of nature…All we ask now is that in the memory of Austin and the life that he lived that everyone live their lives just a little bit larger in order to fill in the space that Austin leaves behind."

A permanent endowment has been created at the Albuquerque Academy to support music education and science activities.

To make a donation, visit

The Captain Dexter Fund benefitting Rob Larson and K9 Specialties Missing Children Searches will also take donations.