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Student killed in highway crash remembered as 'happiest guy on Earth'


Waterford junior Connor Waple (left) and Ypsilanti junior Tim LaPointe (right) pose for a photo. (Photo courtesy of Jaime Kesteloot)

Feelin’ good, livin’ great.

That was the motto Tim LaPointe lived his life by – it was a phrase that embodied his optimism and unbridled enthusiasm for life. He repeated the phrase daily to remind others, and himself, to live their best lives. 

Those four words will carry on LaPointe's spirit for his friends and family, who remember him as a cheerful and bright man who was full of life, right up until his sudden death.

LaPointe was killed in a head-on car crash on Dec. 30 in Gratiot County. The Ypsilanti junior at Central Michigan University was less than a month away from his 21st birthday. Zachary Morgan, 26, of Gladwin, was also killed in the crash. Morgan was a student at Mid-Michigan Community College.

Despite being taken away from his loved ones, Lapointe's brother, John, said he will forever be remembered as a warm and compassionate friend to all who met him his brother.

"He truly was the happiest guy on Earth," John LaPointe, 22, said. "If anyone deserved to be happy, it was him."

Timothy Paul LaPointe was born on Jan. 25, 1999 to his parents, Todd and Christine LaPointe. He attended Keystone Academy, a National Heritage Academy charter school in Ypsilanti, where he graduated in 2017. He was majoring in marketing at CMU and held various leadership roles in the business fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon. 

Tim LaPointe would have been the first in his immediate family to graduate from college, his brother said.

"Growing up, Tim was my little brother, but he always seemed like he was 80 years old," John recalled. "He was always very reserved, but whenever he spoke up, he was so knowledgeable and intelligent in how he talked and analyzed situations.

"He was so goal-driven," John said. "When he wanted to do something, he did it."

That didn't just include academic goals. John said when Tim stuck up for his friends, he was not a force to be reckoned with. 

During high school, one of Tim's friends was upset about being cut from the basketball team. Without hesitation, Tim marched up to the team's coach and convinced him that his friend deserved to stay on the team, resulting in his friend being allowed back on the team.

"He was so bubbly, always gassing everybody up," John said. "He wanted everybody to be happy and living their best life."

While Tim LaPointe loved his family in Ypsilanti, he found his second family in the friends he made at CMU. His best friend, Connor Waple, described their tight-knit friend group as inseparable. The group did everything together, Waple said, from making meals together, to studying together at the library, to celebrating "Secret Santa" at Christmas.

Tim LaPointe poses with a group of friends. (Photo courtesy of Jaime Kesteloot)

LaPointe and Waple, a Waterford junior, both acted as "the dads" of the friend group, said Detroit senior Jaime Kesteloot, Waple's girlfriend. They always made sure to take care of their friends and look out for one another. 

"It honestly was the definition of a family," Kesteloot said. "We did everything together."

Waple said if he could describe his best friend in three words, it would be "passionate," "confident," and "caring."

"Tim always was looking out for everybody to make sure they were doing okay," Waple said. "He carried positive vibes wherever he went."

Aside from spending time with friends, Tim LaPointe loved playing basketball and listening to music. He also became passionate about art and painting in the months before his death, Waple said.

"He had all these different colored paints, and around Christmas time we just went to a hobby store and bought a bunch of supplies and would paint things for our apartment," Waple said. "You wouldn't imagine a bunch of dudes sitting around and painting. But he loved it."

Although he misses his brother, John said he finds solace in knowing how happy Tim was before he died. The two brothers celebrated John's birthday together on Dec. 27, a few days before Tim's death, and John remembers Tim telling him how he was at the happiest point of his life. 

"Yes his life was taken short, but knowing he was truly living his best life and loved everything about his life at the time helps me cope with all this," John LaPointe said.

Tim LaPointe is survived by his parents, as well as his five siblings: Joshua, Michael, John, Daniel and Emma. His funeral service took place Monday, Jan. 6, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Whittaker, Michigan. He was buried at Marble Park Cemetery next to his grandfather, Michael Hartmann.