Four days after he died, 19-year-old Jerry Napoleon of Caldwell was remembered as a musician, an athlete and an all-around good guy.
“When I think of Jerry, I think of a happy kid who loved music and played sports,” said Head Football Coach Ken Trimmer. “He played for us on the defensive side of the ball. He was very successful in his senior year.”
Napoleon, a 2011 graduate of JCHS, died at his home on Monday. A wake will be held for Napoleon at , 9 Smull Ave., Caldwell, on Friday, August 24, from 2 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral services will be conducted by Bishop Himrod Ambroise at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, August 25, at International Faith Ministries, 494 Hillside Ave., Orange.
While at high school, Napoleon was a defensive tackle for the Chiefs football team, he also participated in wrestling and track, and was involved with the music department. He was attending William Paterson University and played and produced music.
Trimmer, the longtime Chiefs’ coach, said he looks at his team as a family and Napoleon was a part of that family.
“All our coaches that have been involved with our program are shocked and saddened by this,” Trimmer said.
JCHS teacher and wrestling head coach Gary Garamella knew Napoleon, who participated in wrestling and was in his health and physical education class.
“He was just a very nice kid. It’s a tragedy,” Garamella said Thursday. “My heart goes out to his family."
Trimmer, along with the school district's administration, said he has extended his support to Napoleon's mother, Ginette Vialet, and to his younger brother, Dwayne, who is an incoming sophomore who plays on the football team.
Napoleon will be buried in his football jersey, #79, Trimmer said.
Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools have arranged for grief counselors to be available at James Caldwell High School, from noon to 4 p.m., on Thursday, according to a letter sent home to parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a donation be made to Dancy Funeral Home in Jerry Napoleon's name.