PORTLAND, Ore. — A large crowd packed an auditorium at Vestal Elementary School in Northeast Portland to remember Lola and William Stiles.
"Lola was always quick to help others when they needed help," said teacher Eric Swehla. "She could see a hand that needed to be held and she had the strength to go hold that hand."
From teachers to the principal, nobody at Thursday evening's vigil was short on fond memories of the Stiles kids.
"Lola was always ready to find her friends," said principal Sabrina Flamoe. "William and I had a funny connection where I'd tell him I was ready for him to start kindergarten at Vestal and he'd smile and say, 'I need to go to my school now but I'll come to your school later.'"
That innocent humor is among the many things the Vestal community will miss about Lola and William.
The children were with their dad, on an off-beach trail north of Manzanita, when a sneaker wave knocked them into the ocean. Jeremy Stiles survived, but the kids did not.
"These two children will be forever missed by all of us," said Flamoe. "I personally feel so blessed to have known both of them."
Ask anybody at the vigil and chances are they will tell you the same thing. Lola and William were special.
Nobody knows that better than their parents. They were understandably absent from the vigil, but Jamie Stiles had a family member read a message on her behalf: "My Lola was so spirited and my Bill had a heart of gold and anybody who ever met them would say the same. They loved each other beyond measure and they were always up for adventure. We should all take solace in knowing they're together and on the greatest adventure of them all."