Albemarle Teen Dies Suddenly

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

August 8, 2007

An Albemarle County family is coping with the unexpected loss of their 17-year-old son. St. Anne's Belfield Senior Doug Wardle died on a humanitarian trip in Nicaragua last Thursday.

“This is obviously a very sad time for the family, for our school community, any one who knew him, but it is really hard not to smile when you think of Doug,” said the Head of St. Anne’s Belfield David Lourie.

That's because Wardle's smile and personality were infectious.

“He had a goofy side to him but he was humble. He didn't have a bit of ego to him and a very strong sense of integrity and character. Everyone admired him,” said Lourie.

The senior and varsity soccer player was hoping to make a run at the state championship, and as an honor student, Doug was hoping to make a difference as the newly elected class president.

“Doug was one of the finest students we had at the school. He ran our community forum. He performed in two of our school plays. He was a member of clubs and he was in Nicaragua doing community service,” said Lourie.

And it was in Nicaragua last week that Doug died suddenly. He, his father and 19 of his classmates were building houses for the poor. One minute Doug was laughing with his friends, the next minute he was on the ground. They rushed him to the closest hospital some many miles away.

“Every effort was made to save him, but ummm---“ said Lorie. “It was too late. Doug died from a hemorrhage to the brain. He was likely born with the condition that led to his death, but it went undetected.”

“I think he'd want to be remembered as he appears in his pictures, smiling, goofy, having a good time with his friends,” concluded Lourie.

This was Doug’s second humanitarian trip to Nicaragua. Dozens of his fellow students have now expressed an interest in building houses in Nicaragua next year.

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