By Graham C Wheat
Family, friends, and teachers alike were fondly remembered Leonel Del Toro and Severo Ramirez.
On March 16, the two Bakersfield College students were killed in a car crash at the intersection of University and Columbus.
Leonel Del Toro, 33, and Severo Ramirez were friends and both were on their way to a BC club activity when the accident happened. There was a viewing and service for Del Toro on March 20 and March 22 at Hillcrest Cemetery and Funeral Service at Our Lady Of Guadalupe church.
Coming from a large family, Rosa Del Toro, sister of Leonel, described him as a family man with many passions.
“He was thoughtful yet outspoken,” said Rosa. “ He loved football. He wanted to play football for BC and he got that opportunity.” Leonel was a member of the state championship Renegades football team.
Rosa said of her brother, “He was very dedicated. He always tried his best to do well in school. It was a little bit of a challenge for him, but he never stopped trying. His focus was to get a degree in psychology and one day coach football.”
She further elaborated on Del Toro’s kind nature.
“His girlfriend said that he worked out for football and was really sore, and had second thoughts about going to the MECHA club car wash, but he still went,” said Rosa concerning the day of the accident and events leading up to it. “He didn’t make it, but he was on his way to help others. He was always thinking about others.”
Del Toro left an impression on teachers at BC, too.
Dean Sampley, American Sign Language professor, was close academically and personally with Del Toro.
“He had such a great heart, and was so expressive, I loved him like a son.” said Sampley of her time spent with Del Toro. “ He was a great communicator, always persistent. Leo lit up the room when he entered it.”
She reminisced of time spent having deep conversation in her office, and even having Thrifty Ice Cream with Del Toro. “I encouraged him, but he inspired me.”