James Denton was at an age when most teens at the far edge of that classification are shaking off remnants of childhood to become the adults they were meant to be.
Yet one part of his childhood the 19-year-old had no intentions of leaving behind was Port Hardy.
All the friends who spoke to the Gazette — and there were many — said Denton loved to return to fish, bike or continue to explore the wilderness he loved.
He just started a new life, as novel as a new job can make it.
It was just a short while ago the guy with the ready smile and penchant for making friends — who’re still loyal pals years after they learned their ABCs together — took a job with BC Hydro.
That’s the kind of career job every kid out of electrician school dreams about, and Denton achieved it.
That was surely only the beginning for Denton.
But we’ll never really know because his life ended far too soon in a violent, senseless act at the hands of another teen, just 16 himself.
Denton is described by his pals as as an easy going, stand up guy who didn’t start trouble, but would be there in an instant to back up his friends who were in the middle of it.
Until something else is known, it seems that’s exactly what happened in the scenario that claimed Denton’s life.
The fact that is was a kid who ended Denton’s life is doubly tragic.
One young man who will be remembered in the best possible way, and another young man who will do his time, then slither back into society where he will be largely unknown.Until, of course, the next time he picks up a knife.