Thevenin, here pictured with a group during the football team's outreach with Relay for Life in Foxborough in late February.
By Matt Stout
Calling hours will be held Friday, June 24, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 900 Main Street, Brockton, Mass., from 4:00-8:00 p.m., with a time of remembrance at 7:30 p.m. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 25, at 11:00 a.m., at First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
BROCKTON, Mass. - Track practices at Suffield Academy started the same way every afternoon in the spring of 2010.
Coaches would discuss what the team did wrong the day before and what it did right. The athletes would then jog an 800-meter warm-up.
And Henry Thevenin would sing.
In warm-ups, during stretching, the Brockton native would belt out whatever song was in his head, even when he was in the middle of a run.
It was no easy task for a 260-pound lineman.
"No matter how bad my day was, Henry was having a good day," said A.J. Yates, track coach at the Connecticut prep school where Thevenin spent a post-graduate year.
"Every day was like it was the best day ever," Yates said on Friday.
Last Tuesday, Thevenin, 20, succumbed to his two-month battle with leukemia, a loss of not only a great athlete who played this past year at Stonehill College but a person friends say was always willing to reach out to others.
His family is now asking for help to honor him.
The Jenny Family Support account has been set up at the Bank of America branch at 695 Crescent St., Brockton, where people can make donations to assist in Thevenin's services.
Those interested can also send their donations to the family at 3 Hammond St., Brockton, MA 02302. A donation box has also been stationed at Bob & Aposs Big Breakfast at 235 East Ashland St., Brockton.
No final arrangements had been made as of Friday, a Stonehill College spokesperson said.
John Merian, owner of Tuxedos by Merian in downtown Brockton, said the store is donating a white tuxedo for Thevenin to wear for the funeral services.
Greg Victoria, whose brother Samuel played football at Brockton with Thevenin, can be reached at 508-345-2985 with any questions about donating.
"Henry basically had become family to us," Victoria said.
He is far from alone. Those in Brockton, Easton and Suffield, Conn., are all mourning Thevenin, remembering him as much for his smile as the plays he made.
No one on the Brockton High football team will wear his No. 67 this upcoming season, coach Peter Colombo said, and the program plans to create an award in his name.
Speaking Friday, Colombo thought back to Thevenin's senior year when the Boxers started 1-3, in large part because Thevenin sat out with an injured ankle.
But on the day the team played St. John's Prep, Thevenin – after not practicing for two weeks – talked his way into the lineup and "played with ankle that he was barely able to fit in his shoe," Colombo said.
Brockton won the first of eight straight games that night en route to a berth in the Div. I Super Bowl. Colombo said his biggest regret in coaching was not running the ball behind Thevenin in that game when Brockton needed a late first down in the eventual loss.
But, Colombo said, his memories of Thevenin beyond the field are most clear.
"When he went in the hospital, I told him, 'I love you Henry,' and he didn't hesitate, he responded right back," an emotional Colombo said, pausing for a moment to collect himself. "I'm going to miss him."