Friends, family and the greater Horsham community gathered Wednesday to pay final respects to a young man described by many as a friendly, always smiling, “impeccable dresser.”
Edward “Eddie” Coombs, a 2010 Hatboro-Horsham grad and standout lacrosse player who would have been a sophomore at Marist College, was laid to rest Wednesday at Whitemarsh Memorial Park, following a funeral service at . Coombs, of Horsham, was 19.
In between tears, the hundreds who either crammed into the church, packed the foyer elbow-to-elbow, or sat outside, listening from the speakers, shared knowing laughs as a teammate, friends, coach and family members reflected on Coombs’ winning personality on and off the athletic field.
Dave Sowers, Coombs’ coach during his Hatters lacrosse tenure as player No. 14, said speaking at Coombs’ funeral was the “greatest honor."
“I love Eddie Coombs and you will notice there’s no “d” at the end of that,” Sowers said, noting that his statement was not in past tense. “He will be with us every day.”
Sowers read a blog posted on Lax Power about the untimely passing of Coombs and fellow 2010 Hatboro-Horsham grad and lacrosse player, Robert Nagel. Authored by “Luckiest Man Alive,” the writer said he is a high school lacrosse coach who met Coombs a handful of times while coaching against him.
“Our true ‘victory’ is being able to reach kids,” the blog author wrote. “When the news of Edward "Eddie" Coombs found me, all feelings were sucked out of my body, replaced with an empty, vapid lull. An amazing talent and an even better person was taken from us far too soon. Eddie embodied all that we coaches look for as a player. Eddie had the unique ability that few players have. He was able to put the team on his back and change the outcome of a game all on his own.”
After reading the heartfelt article, Sowers said he meant “no disrespect” by saying it was he - and not the author - who was the luckiest man alive.
“I was given the gift of being his coach,” Sowers said. “We will never forget you."
Then, in a light-hearted moment that brought knowing laughs from many, Sowers said all the ties in the crowd would make Coombs, the “impeccable dresser” that he was, smile.
Zach Badalucco, one of Coombs’ teammates at Marist, said the former Hatter made everyone feel like they were best friends. He shared reflections on Coombs’ captivating stories and how he could draw everyone in.
“He was the center of attention at all times,” Badalucco said.
Others said Coombs’ warmth touched “every life inside this church.”
His sister Erin, older by two years, referred to him as "my little big brother."
"He was always there," she said. "Thank you for loving my brother."
Coombs, who excelled academically, as well as in lacrosse, track, soccer and football, was selected during high school to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law and Crime Scene Investigations in Washington, D.C. The six-day program led to an internship at the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
In honor of his various achievements, the family – including his father Eric, a Hatboro-Horsham School Board member, his mother Tina and sister Erin - established the Edward Taylor Coombs Scholarship Foundation, Coombs’ uncle, Richard Taylor, said. Those wishing to contribute to the foundation may do so at TD Bank, where the account has been set up.
A golf tournament has been tentatively scheduled for next year to help kickoff the foundation, Taylor said, adding that funds would be made available to student athletes exhibiting strong character
Taylor said the Coombs family has been “flooded” with “love, support and compassion” since , which claimed the lives of Coombs and Nagel.
“I would be here until Monday listing the names of individuals (who helped the family),” Taylor said, adding that the Horsham community, as a whole, has offered tremendous support. “You know how to treat a family of your own.”