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Student remembered as upbeat, caring

Austin Silver Cropped2.jpg
Austin Silver, 1993-2014, is remembered as a caring, upbeat and sociable person. Silver died at the scene of a car crash from severe head trauma Jan. 27. More than 200 people attended his vigil in Simi Valley Sunday. Photo courtesy of Steven Silver.


Austin Silver, 20, a Chico State student who died in a car crash on Jan. 26, is remembered as a curious, upbeat and musical individual by his friends and family.

Silver, a music industry major, died from severe head trauma after the crash, according to California Highway Patrol.

“He had this ability to light up the room with laughter,” said Bobby Sojka, who was a close friend of Silver’s since they were both 3 years old. “ He always put a smile on everyone’s face.”

He loved to sing, play piano and guitar and was an avid fan of winter sports, said Austin Silver’s friends.

Kindness was also a strong suit of his, said Steven Silver, his father.

“He was a very outgoing and sociable person,” Steven Silver said. “He pretty much accepted anybody as a friend. He was a kind-hearted guy who seemed to like almost everybody.”

Austin Silver was born Dec. 7, 1993 in Simi Valley, according to a campus-wide email.

He attended Royal High School, where he swam for three years and played water polo for four, his father said.

“He was always the kind of individual who would strive for success and always sought out what was the right thing to do,” said Robert Lubell, a high school classmate. “He and his family were a big part of the aquatics community at Royal.”

He graduated from Royal High School in 2012 and began studying at Chico State that fall.

“He liked the size of the town,” Steven Silver said. “He liked the layout of the college and the way it felt. It seemed to fit.”

Austin Silver dreamed of opening an accounting firm that dealt with clients in the music business, his father said. He planned to change his major to accounting.

He last spoke to his father on Jan. 23 — three days before the crash. He was excited about getting books for all his classes, his father said.

“He was probably going to take one of his heaviest loads since he started at Chico,” Steven Silver said. “He was pumped up and excited for the semester. He was very optimistic.”

Silver said he came up to visit his son on Jan. 12. He helped his son fix up his house and they had dinner in town after.

“I had a great weekend up there with him,” Steven Silver said. “Just father and son.”

A vigil was held in Chico on Jan. 28 outside of Silver’s home. A second vigil was held Saturday at Royal High School, put together by Sojka, where around 200 attendees gathered, his father said.

“He apparently touched a lot of people,” the father said.

Chris Silver, his mother, said she was clearing out his room when she found a sealed letter in his desk. It was written in the spring of 2013 and it was addressed to his parents but was never mailed.

In the letter, Silver expressed love and gratitude toward his parents, thanking them for everything they provided him, including an education, she said.

“It was everything a parent would want to hear,” his mother said. “It was a total miracle.”

Silver is survived by his younger brother Dylan, his father and mother.

“He was a great kid,” his father said. “I miss him sorely. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I wouldn’t trade him for anything.”

Mozes Zarate can be reached at [email protected] or @mzarate139 on Twitter.

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