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Boy hurt in ATV crash dies

June 15, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • Charles E. Wiles
Charles E. Wiles

CEARFOSS — To those who knew 12-year-old Charles Eugene “Gene” Wiles, the honor roll student at Clear Spring Middle School was a joy to be around.

“He was a wonderful young man,” Principal Deron Crawford said. “He was quiet, polite and mannerly.”

“One in a million,” said Tammy DeBaugh, a family friend from Boonsboro.

“He was a fun-lovin’ kid. Always had a smile,” said Jeff Semler, agriculture extension educator for the University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

Gene died Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore from injuries sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident Monday morning.

Maryland State Police said Gene was driving the ATV on the family’s driveway Monday when, for an unknown reason, he lost control and it overturned, seriously injuring him.

Gene’s passing has left a hole in the hearts of his family and friends, said Kristen Toms, a family friend from Williamsport.

“He will be missed more than words can say,” she said.

Gene was raised on his maternal grandparents’ dairy farm, Heavensent Holsteins, Semler said. Together with his older sisters, he was the seventh generation of the family to farm the 250-acre property near Cearfoss, Gene’s father said previously.

“(Gene) just liked farming,” Semler said.

He showed dairy cattle and pigs at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, he said.

Crawford said Gene was involved in many agriculture activities outside of school, where he had just finished the seventh grade.

“He was a normal, regular middle school student that any parent would have been proud to say was their child,” Crawford said. “Our hearts just ache for the family.”

Gene will be remembered for his love of farming, family and his animals, Toms said.  Also for how much he enjoyed taking something apart just to see if he could put it back together again and maybe improve it, she said.

She said that many of Gene’s friends from 4-H told her and DeBaugh of what an ambitious, hard-working and incredible friend they had lost.

“He was amazing,” Toms said. “I was talking to my daughters, and they pointed out that he was loved by all.”

And he had a smile that could brighten any moment, she said.

“His heart was so big, and he had a smile that would go for days,” Toms said. “You couldn’t see his smile and not smile, too. When he flashed you a smile, you had to smile back.”

Even though school is out for the summer, Clear Spring Middle School will have counselors available, Crawford said. Grieving students are welcome to set up a time to meet with a counselor by calling the school at 301-766-8094, he said.

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