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Friends remember Wibberley

October 21, 2000

Friends remember Wibberley



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer


Jocelyn Paza said she'll miss Craig Wibberley's smile the most, and she described it.

It started as a half-smile, she said, then the other side of his mouth followed. His head would tilt back a bit.

It always meant mischief, said Paza, 18.

Paza was among dozens of Wibberley's friends at his funeral and burial Saturday. They cried when they couldn't contain their sorrow. Later, they smiled and shared memories of their 19-year-old friend, who died in an explosion on the USS Cole last week.

Chris Shuman, 21, called Wibberley "the biggest little dude I've met," short in stature but tall in presence.

Shuman was said to be a "big brother" to Wibberley and several other guys. The group often met at Shuman's house and shot squirrels.

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Other young mourners described Wibberley as determined and charismatic.

Clayton Brunner got to know Wibberley better when they worked together at Hagerstown Ford. Wibberley "wasn't afraid to tell you you were wrong," said Brunner, 19.

Wibberley was "goal-oriented," said Jeremy Turnock, 18. "If he set out to do it, he did it."

"Craig was the ideal man," said Scott Nicoletti, 20.

"He was just somebody everybody wanted to be around," said Jeni Mitchell, 21, who knew Wibberley through his sister, Toni.

Rochelle Garrott, 21, said she dated Wibberley when she was in middle school and cherished him like a brother.

He may have been a rascal when he was young, but by the time he was a high school senior, Wibberley was "a saint," Garrott said.

He stopped smoking, began working out and improved his grades as his focus turned to joining the Navy, she said.

Paza said it may take months before she accepts that Wibberley is gone.

"This was the saddest day of my life," she said.

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