Family, Friends Struggle With Loss Of Westhampton Beach Graduate


Cory Hubbard was a fearless adventurer and a talented athlete whose smile won him friends across the country and even around the world.The 22-year-old Westhampton Beach native spent summers at the beach with his best friends, body-boarding and surfing—activities they thought they would enjoy together for the rest of their lives, friends Vance Schindler and Connor O’Rourke said this week.

But Mr. Hubbard’s life was cut short early Friday morning when he was struck by a car as he crossed Baltimore Avenue on foot in College Park, Maryland, where he attended college. The driver of the vehicle did not stop or attempt to slow down after the accident, according to Prince George’s County Police.

Mr. Hubbard, who was not in a crosswalk at the time, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died of his injuries, officials said.

Police announced Friday evening that the driver of the vehicle had turned himself in. Shortly after, however, detectives said they had recovered the vehicle and were working to “positively link the driver to the striking vehicle” before filing charges.

No charges had been filed as of Wednesday, police said, and they still have not identified the suspect.

Holly Hubbard, Cory’s mother, who teaches physical education at the Westhampton Beach Middle School, said Sunday that her younger son was the light in their family. As she and her husband, Ralph, a retired Hampton Bays teacher, and Cory’s older brother, Kyle, 24, said “good

night” on Friday, they joked that their family would be boring without Cory’s playful humor, she recalled.

“He just made us all laugh,” she said. “He was just a spark, the light in our family that we’re going to miss so much.”

Ralph Hubbard said his son was in his senior year at the University of Maryland, where he was studying kinesiology, which could have led him to a career in a health field or one associated with athletics. “He wanted to work with people and help people,” he said.

Family members said they discovered that Cory Hubbard was a bit of a thrill-seeker last fall while he studied abroad in Australia, where he went bungee jumping, wake-boarding and hiking. “I think he was fearless,” Ms. Hubbard said.

He had friends both throughout the country and internationally, many of whom have reached out to the family to share stories of how he touched their lives, Ralph Hubbard noted.

“Whether you were his best friend or his acquaintance, he made you feel that you were the most important person in the world, and that is one of the rarest and most special qualities I have ever seen in a person,” said Ellie Markewitz, who attended the University of Maryland with Mr. Hubbard.

Mr. Schindler and Mr. O’Rourke, who grew up with Mr. Hubbard in Westhampton Beach, said they were grappling with the loss of their best friend, whom they described in an email as a hardworking student and a natural athlete “who found joy in everything and everyone around him.”

Coming home to Westhampton Beach wouldn’t be the same without Mr. Hubbard, they explained.

“Anytime either of us had troubles or just needed to talk, we would go to the beach at jetty four and sit on the rocks, sometimes for hours when nobody was around,” Mr. Schindler said. “We would just sit there sometimes talking and sometimes not saying anything at all. We found comfort in each other—we felt at home.”

Mr. O’Rourke said that after his mother died, Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Schindler came to his home and helped him through the grieving process, even when the pain seemed insurmountable.

“Anywhere you go throughout this town has a memory of Cory, whether it be the people themselves or the places he has been,” Mr. O’Rourke and Mr. Schindler wrote in the email. “Cory is still here with us and always will be. The day he is gone is the day we stop talking about him.”

Hundreds lined up to pay their respects to Mr. Hubbard’s family at the Follett & Werner Funeral Home in Westhampton Beach on Monday and Tuesday. A funeral service was scheduled for Wednesday at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church on Quiogue, followed by a private cremation.

Gordon Werner, owner of the Follett & Werner Funeral Home, said the line of friends, family and community members waiting to pay their respects to Mr. Hubbard’s family extended down Mill Road and wrapped around Church Lane and even Beach Road. Among those who attended were Sergeants John Brown and Greg Brown, of the University Of Maryland Police Department in College Park, who were first on the scene after the accident. The two sergeants, who are not related, made the five-hour trip north Tuesday to attend the wake.

In high school, Mr. Hubbard earned recognition for his athletic talent in three sports: football, wrestling and lacrosse. He was selected for the All-County lacrosse and wrestling teams. In 2009, he won the “Golden Eleven” scholarship, given to top scholar-athletes. He also served as captain on the teams, and went on to play goalie for his college club lacrosse team following his 2010 graduation from Westhampton Beach High School.

“The younger kids gravitated to him and followed him,” Bill Parry, coach of the Westhampton Beach varsity football team, said this week, noting that he lives down the block from the Hubbard family and watched Cory Hubbard grow up. “He was a great kid to coach because no matter what took place or what adversity, you could always count on him, and he did it with a smile.”

At around 3 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 100 friends of Mr. Hubbard gathered on the Carl Hansen Memorial Field in the middle of the snowstorm to form the No. 12, the number Cory wore while playing football and lacrosse at Westhampton Beach High School.

Paul Bass, who coaches the Westhampton Beach wrestling team and whose family is close with the Hubbards, said Mr. Hubbard was a great person and one of the most exceptional athletes to graduate from the high school. “No one had a bad thing to say about him,” Mr. Bass said, noting that other coaches and athletes approached him at a recent tournament to share how Mr. Hubbard had affected their lives, even if they only met him briefly.

Kathy Masterson, the Westhampton Beach athletic director, said the school community has set up a scholarship fund in Mr. Hubbard’s memory. Anyone interested can send donations for the Cory Hubbard Memorial Scholarship Fund to Ms. Masterson at the Westhampton Beach Athletic Department at 49 Lilac Road in Westhampton Beach.

In addition to his parents and brother, Mr. Hubbard is survived by his grandfather, Ben Larson of Westhampton Beach, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

After learning about the death of his only sibling on Friday, Kyle Hubbard went to the ocean to surf—an activity he had planned to do with his brother that weekend.

When he arrived at the beach, the sun broke through the clouds on what had been a dreary day. It was a sign, Ms. Hubbard said, that her younger son was looking down and watching over them.

“I wish I could see how the rest of his life was going to turn out,” she said.

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